Monday, July 7, 2014

CARMEL-World's Gone Crazy (1995)


Yeah, isn't that the truth! Though it's nice to know that, even admist all of the craziness happening all around us, there's still time to enjoy the things you love. Like listening to some good tunes, for example. And there are some very pleasant ones here on the eighth studio album by the British soul/jazz troupe CARMEL, named after Carmel McCourt, the group's leading lady who provides nearly all of the vocals. Despite the album's title, one that you think would suggest that the music is lively and very upbeat up and down, chill-out is the mood that's primarily cast through these songs. The finest representation of chill-out occurs on such relaxing ambient tunes like "Don't Lose Your Love" (this one's especially lovely, because it's practically all singing with very little going on with the beat, except for the atmospheric drones and other soundscapes), "Jack Dodd" (performed nicely with the double voice effect, although I'm thinking there's another male vocalist singing along with her and not sure if it's Gerry Darby, the guy who can be heard on "Don't Lose Your Love" in the background), "If You Don't Come Back" and the warming instrumental, "Africa", where Carmel is practically humming along with the melody all the way through. One of the coolest cuts is also one with the most meaningful lyrics: "Save Our World (From Drowning)". Doesn't the suspenseful sound seem like a perfect fit for the song's grim theme? I like the way that Carmel's voice quivers each and every word, as if she were making like a ghost herself to add to the already spooky mood of the music—the highlight being when that same quivering voice soars on and on for so long that you'll think it'll never come back down from the rafters! There's a little spunk thrown into your lazy-afternoon lounging on the breezy jazz number, "Backroom". Kinda has that old-school bluesy feel, and that blaring organ/light cymbal-clashing combination does it for me everytime. Yet the biggest highlight is also the liveliest 6+ minutes of music you'll hear on this album: the title track itself. Does the all-capitalized phrase 'TOTAL DANCE JAM' get your attention? It's like an instrumental funk party with the groovy beat (almost sounds like a faster version of SUGARHILL GANG's "Rapper's Delight" if you listen closely) and some snazzy keyboard/piano work mixing in with the sexy saxophone and the triumphant trumpet with the party's honorary guest, Ms. McCourt herself, throwing it down big time with that big voice of hers! Lost somewhere in the music craziness for me was the actual message of the song, but the line that goes 'it's a shame, you're all to blame' is the song's big hook from the main chorus that sticks to me every time I've helped myself to another dizzying round of it:

1. If I Don't Have You
2. Don't Lose Your Love
3. Save Our World (From Drowning)
4. Backroom
5. Jacqueline
6. World's Gone Crazy?
7. Jack Dodd
8. Africa
9. If You Don't Come Back

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