Carnabells, Mixtape, The Keys. 14/10/14
A little over a year ago I published my first review on this site, after watching a band that had something special about them, feeling like they were on the edge of something big. And whaddaya know, twelve months later they've played Glastonbury, Leeds & Reading, gigged all over the place and released a single that was summer all the way through. Tonight they're on the area's funkiest stage, the multicoloured light-up dancefloor of The Keys in Middlesbrough, and I've called in for a chat and a singalong. Hello, Carnabells.
This Leeds(ish) based five-piece have a real 50s vibe to them, in their music and their appearance. Thankfully it all sits together and looks more T Bird than it does Alex Turner (who's more of a T Wat). Frontman Luke still has the skinniest jeans known to all mankind - go on hipsters, I dare you to try and beat it - and guitarist Mitch's regular slicking back of his hair is pure Danny Zuko. They're also some of the friendliest guys I've ever met. They didn't even roll their eyes when I grinned and asked 'been up to much this year then?'
Kicking off with Call The Sunshine, Carnabells unleash that rich, summery sound that I love so much. The modern dancehall vibe is still there but there's an older, more composed air to the band now, like they've grown into their music, and it sounds better than I ever remembered. Songs like My Town and Turn To Gold follow this more mature sound, even a couple of new tracks get thrown in for us with the lead-in 'let us know if it's shit and we won't play it again'. Needless to say, Childhood Sweetheart and You Bring Me Down are far from shit and the crowd are quick to tell them so. Finishing off with Magazine Dream is always a winner - that song is pure perfection from start to finish - but it's Station Road that is the highlight for me. It's big and noisy with a massively retro kick. Plus Jack goes a little bit mental on the keys. Always a highlight.
Half an hour on a Tuesday night doesn't feel like long enough, it really is over too soon. I'm hoping to get them back up here (any promoters that happen to read this, help a girl out please!) but until then they've a full line-up of live dates that can be found all over the usual social media outlets. If you fancy going along to see what all the fuss is about, you'll be in for a treat.