Indie Rock with a Vision
Carlon’s talent lies not in its instrumental skills (which certainly aren’t bad), nor its lead singer’s voice (which is strong yet surreal while perfectly matching the tone of the band’s music), nor its lyrics (which range from insightful to unsophisticated). Instead, Carlon distinguishes itself from the rest of the indie rock scene by creating a seamlessly unique sound that can move from alternative rock to country without losing its character for one beat.
The songs on Johari Window incorporate electronic elements as well as acoustic ones, and catchy choruses as well as improvised guitar solos. The first track, “Mixed Messages,” a drum-laden alternative rock song reminiscent of No.4-era Stone Temple Pilots, contrasts sharply with the album’s last song, “Murder the Night,” an alt-country acoustic track with layered vocals and stirring lyrics such as “tear apart the shed / find me a butter knife / cause I want it dead…murder the night / so it can’t murder you.” In between are ten tracks that incorporate all the elements of these two songs without straying too far in one direction.
“Where the Driveway Ends” exemplifies this blending of sounds, beginning with sparse, country-tinged vocals before slowly building up to a strong rock rhythm; “Have A Window” is a stand-out track for similar reasons. Unfortunately, not all of Carlon’s songs can so beautifully merge the alt-rock, country, and folk as these do. Slower tracks like “Caution” and “Noel” are a bit boring compared to the rest of the album, while the long “Cantaloupe” is interesting musically, but uninspiring lyrically (“I cut your cantaloupe / while you fed me your reasons why”).
Luckily “Rosie” makes up for these shortfalls with its catchy tune and sympathetic lyrics (put your anger down / I’ve seen what you’ve been through / so let me carry that for you), as do other upbeat tracks. Though Johari Window is not without its faults, it is a solid album by a strong band with a bright future.