There’s one thing for sure- the Carnival Moon is extremely different from the Carnival Moon I saw last year at a Piston show. Her impressive harp-playing is still there, but she’s got a lot more help (in other words, a backing band).
The addition of the background instrumentals add a huge dimension to her already impressive and intelligent music. Her harp on its own would still be music that isn’t heard often, but it’s a treat when it’s combined with, for example, light flourishes of percussion in her song “Electronic Jeff Bridges” (best song title of the year so far?).
The best thing about Elaine Kelly-Canning (the female half of Carnival Moon) is that there’s really only one famous harp player to compare her to and, well, Kelly-Canning’s vocals will be undeniably much more pleasant to listen to and much less likely to cause massive internet debates over.
Now to the actual songs- they’re fantastic. Kelly-Canning as well as David Scanlon (the male half of Carnival Moon) never keep a consistent melody going for an entire song, leaving plenty of surprise for the ears. What may sound like a song completely dedicated to plucking of the harp at first (like “I Am Czernbroski”) may evolve into something involving drums and the sweeping of strings (and incorporating Scanlon’s vocals into the mix too!)
The song “The Laporte Family” at the beginning almost sounds like it could be played for a ballroom dance. It’s extremely graceful and almost hypnotic. It eventually adds instruments in later to change up the sound a little.
“Quizzical Face” is an interesting song lyrically, talking about walking down Oxford streets and beardless wonders. There’s also a nice combination of the plucked strings and the occasional thump of percussion.
Finally there’s “Maple Wife” which again starts with Kelly-Canning’s hypnotic harp plucking before her vocals are instead supported by piano keys and majestic-sounding drum rolls.
This is a wonderful recording to behold, only making me wonder what a full-length could sound like.
Check out Our Little Hourglass on Bandcamp.
Top Track: “I Am Czernbroski”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*