Galeria Zé dos Bois

caroline’s debut album can be heard in constant surprise. On the one hand, it overcomes a number of ready-made ideas that might exist in relation to an eight-piece band emerging in 2022 with a first full-length. On the other, it has the good-natured arrogance of those who know where to go and how to go about getting there. Dark Blue, the opening song, and also the first that the band started recording (almost five years ago) when they were still a trio formed by the nucleus Casper Hughes, Jasper Llewellyn, and Mike O’Malley, advances with a natural timidity and goes on stating what it wants to say: “I want it all, so tell them”. There seems to be a contradiction here, but no, it’s part of the process of absorbing caroline, the music moves forward in the expectation that it will grow, and explode, but it never does. Yet it’s not holding back there either, holding off the explosion. No, no, it stays there at a point where it’s always gliding. This is how you hear “caroline”, gliding, indifferent to the forms of post-rock – the bases are there, but only the bases – and gentle to the assimilation of languages of other genres, be it assimilations of some electronics to rock (Mark Fell or Russell Haswell) or phrases that one usually hears in traditional folk recordings.

Over the years they have grown from a trio to an eight-piece band. New members have been assimilated to build the sound you can hear today, often starting from an idea that is filled with elements without ever overflowing. The filling never goes through the loudest or the biggest but through a detailed work that seeks influences from concrete and contemporary music. Sometimes we wonder if this is still rock: it is. The strength and energy are there, there is a delicious non-conformism that does not disappear, it is always there and growing as you get to know caroline’s music better. At this particular moment, when uncertainty changes with change, caroline’s music is right. To see them live, with all eight of them on stage, with their music in constant gestation, will be one of the events of 2022. AS

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