CD Review: Carry Illinois “Siren”

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Music
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Austin, Texas-based Lizzy Lehman has made a name for herself in the folk music scene in that area. And now she is making a new identity for herself as part of the very recently-founded band Carry Illinois. Along with Lehman, the rest of the band consists of guitarist Darwin Smith, bassist Nick Droz and drummer Rudy Villarreal. Together, Lehman and the rest of the musicians in the band have created a group that builds on Lehman’s Folk music identity and takes her songs in a new direction that truly gives her songs a new life. The resulting Americana sound from this new musical ensemble blends folk and rock and other genres together to create a sound that is very enjoyable. This blending of genres can be found on the band’s new release entitled Siren.

The first track from the Siren EP from Carry Illinois is the track “Weakest Limb”. The song features a slow-placed Indie Rock sound. The drums from Rudy Villarreal provide a very strong beat that creates that slow pace in the track. Along with that strong beat, the rest of the band combine to create music that has a very infectious feel. And when Lizzy Lehman adds her lyrics about trying to make it through an unforgiving world, you end up with a track that many people can get behind. With the various elements of the song playing together, the track ends up being one of the best moments from the Siren release.

While “Weakest Limb” finds Carry Illinois creating a track that has an Indie Rock sound, the title track of “Siren” incorporates many more musical aspects to create a song that is just as strong as that first track. The track starts off with a quietness that quickly gives way to folk-influenced music. With banjo and cello added to the music of the track, there is a definite folk influence to the music that is undeniable. While “Siren” does contain some folk music influence to it, there is so much more to it as the band incorporates drum loops and other instruments that help add elements to the track not normally found in folk music.

With the song, “Jackson,” the music takes on the most folk-like of any of the tracks on the Siren EP from Carry Illinois. The addition of the banjo and standup bass to the music of the track helps give the track that folk base that will be so familiar to fans of Lehman but like the rest of the song, the folk base is only part of the track. The strong yet simple drum part, the simple electric guitar and keyboard parts on the track help give the song a lot of energy while still allowing a lot of the folk flavor to shine through. With all of the various musical elements, the song easily falls into the folk-rock category as the music of the song has an easy feel to it while still containing a rock influence, as well.

Carry Illinois returns to a more rock-like sound with the track “Nothing to Despise”. The track begins with a feel that may remind of songs that were created by more traditional folk singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. But very soon, the drumbeat and loops on the track helps bring the track back to an Indie Rock feel to the music. The song features lyrics that seem to focus on an upbeat look at the afterlife as opposed to songs with lyrics that focus on the finality of death. While still not a very upbeat track because of the subject matter, “Nothing to Despise” does seem to say to live life to the fullest while you can.

The Siren EP from Carry Illinois comes to an end with the track “A Good Farewell”. The music takes on the most folk-like of any of the tracks on the release. With the simplicity of only a guitar and banjo as the main instruments on the track, the track contains a very minimalistic approach to the music. With this track, the listener gets a good idea of what Lizzy Lehman’s songs sound like when she is the only one creating the music. The addition of RP Oates on the banjo helps give the track some depth while still allowing a certain amount of simplicity to exist in the music.
Taking the songs of Lizzy Lehman and giving them some depth that was not there before, Carry Illinois has created an album in Siren that will make folk music fans happy while also giving rock music fans a lot to smile about. Whether you are a fan of Rock and Roll or of Folk music, Siren is a release you should really check out.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Click HERE to hear the song “Nothing to Despise” from Carry Illinois from the band’s Bandcamp profile.

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Comments
  1. Lizzy Lehman says:

    Thank you so much for the review! Cheers!

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