ALBUM REVIEW: From Carbon – Existence

8/10

ALBUM REVIEW: From Carbon - Existence

The exciting Indie Manchester band From Carbon released “Existence” on March 30th the follow up to their 2014 debut “Wealth”. The band combines emotive lyrics with atmospheric sonics and hardworking sound craft to deliver their version of post-Smith Manchester reality. From Carbon has honed their skills with almost constant live shows throughout storied Manchester venues. “Existence” evinces all the experience the band has collected over the last five years.

From Carbon four core members are lead singer/guitarist Scott Jefferys, bassist Gary Shaw, lead guitarist Adam Smithurst and drummer/percussionist Nut. The new album was produced by Chris Oliver. The band called on associate members Fiona Moore, piano, James Moore, guitars, and Harriet Lamb on violins to flesh out the sonics on the release.

From Carbon on “Existence” offers glimpses of their influences served up in their own unique way.  Throughout “Existence” U2, REM, The Smiths, Radiohead, the Stone Roses, Arcade Fire, Elbow, Velvet Underground, Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen emerge as prime motivators of both the style and sonics on the tracks. The album sparks off with the sunlit track, “Lightspeed” which is an anthemic melding of U2 and Arcade Fire with a clarion chromatic guitar that nods to The Edge. This emphatic opener is an effective gateway into the release.  Numerous songs on the release take the challenges of relationships as their topic.  “Because I’m There”, “Light of Day” and “State of Mind” examines the turmoil and trials of relationships but refuse to give up on those said relationships just because they have hit a rough patch.

Where “Because I’m There” reminds me of The Church with its shimmering guitar and phrasing, “The Light of Day” has a tribal vibe with a bendy easily identified Cure guitar tattoo.  No matter how bad things get topically there is a resilience that shines forth best exemplified by tracks like “Never Give Up the Fight” and “Petty Tom”.  The latter song is an amazing barnburner with fantastic guitar work that should attract radio play. The title track “Existence” displays the band’s ability to change things up with at first what appears to be a piano ballad that then proceeds to crank into a full-throated rocker.

Time and again the band displays their versatility; for example “Tidal Wave” displays grungy goodness that would challenge Pearl Jam and exemplifies why the band has done so well when playing live.  They follow this up with the song “Slow Decay” which has all the dramatic Goth weight of the Cure with its dreamy gauzy hallucinogenic feeling.  The closing selection “Light of Night (Reprise)” is a brief evocative lullaby that utilizes an acoustic guitar to provide a haunting close to the release.

“Existence” is an impressive display from an exceptionally versatile group.  The album is a sampler of what they can do across a wide spectrum of styles.  Kudos are earned by lead singer Scott Jefferys as he can certainly build enthusiasm and belt out a song. The production on the release is stellar and the accompaniment is heady and accomplished. If From Carbon can take the success they have experienced playing live into the larger musical world they should go far. “Existence” is a step in the right direction and I look forward to their future efforts.

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