It’s probably not that nothing great comes out of Wolverhampton, it’s just that it isn’t highly documented outside the town itself. Personally I have to come clean and show my ignorance concerning good bands or singers from this Midlands town.
With this in mind, I put The Disconnection in my CD player with a touch of trepidation. The first thing that I noticed was that Carina Round doesn’t have a strong Wolverhampton accent. She has hints of PJ Harvey, but she rocks better and harder than her, and, at times, you can hear Skye Edwards of Morcheeba, but she is more aggressive a lot of the time.
What we have is a raw, rough, yet in parts, beautifully melodic second album, which on tracks like Monument, shows real energy. The diminished piano chords on Lacuna mutate into what sounds like a cornet and a distorted guitar that could take paint off walls. She also demonstrates a talent that Alanis Morissette used to have of slipping in coarse swear words in places where they are needed and showing legitimate hostility, rather than throwing them in just for the sake of it.
Tracks like Shoot and especially Into My Blood, will have the likes of Dido and her fans running for the safety of their mothers. Given the edginess of the guitars, Carina’s voice and the lyrical content, this is NOT middle of the road fare.
She may be from Wolverhampton, but she likes Paris. It has its own song and has references scattered through the album. “Paris is beautiful during the summertime, I hear / Here is so dull and grey after the April snow has cleared,” she sings in the opening of Paris. The lyrics to other songs have hints of visual observation, and experienced personal upheaval, such as on Overcome and Shoot.
The best track on the album is Monument. Starting with an acoustic guitar, it slowly builds into a whirlpool of voices, guitars, and starts to sound pretty angry. I don’t want to say the lyrics are drawn from the September 11th attacks, but with lines like, “Red lights, cars zoom past, New York had a heart attack / Screaming into a new world,” you have to wonder.
The live feeling punctuates the whole album, which ends far too soon with the acoustic Elegy. For all the great things that have come out of Wolverhampton, add this to the list.
She cites Nina Simone and Bob Dylan as her earliest musical memories, which accounts for the importance of words in her work. She has toured with Ryan Adams, Coldplay and the godfather himself, James Brown. All this, topped with her obvious desire to be original and create what she wants, results in a resounding success – it’s just a shame that she may not get the recognition she deserves away from the adoring music press.