“Deranged to Divine” – Carina Round

4 stars (out of 5)

0

CarinaRoundNormanJeanRoy[1]“Deranged to Divine”; what a great title for a retrospective, and much better than “Wolverhampton to California”, the journey that Carina Round has made over the last fifteen years. The album’s a retrospective covering her career so far, a generous eighteen tracks on one CD or double vinyl and includes songs from her four albums, her “Things You Should Know” EP and two previously unreleased songs, but there’s more than quantity to distinguish this album. It’s packed with powerful songs and even the packaging is gorgeous, a 28-page booklet with complete lyrics and some classy studio photos taken over the period of collection.

Since 2001, she’s collaborated with Brian Eno, Dave Stewart, Lou Reed, Ryan Adams, Billy Corgan and many others, producing an eclectic body of work that’s held together by the quality of her intense and unflinching lyrics. She’s the type of artist that attracts a fanatical following; those fans will buy this for the two unreleased tracks, but the appeal is so much wider than that.

There’s no attempt to create a sense of chronological perspective; the songs are sequenced in the way that Carina wants you to hear them. The older songs from 2001, positioned in the middle of the album, have a an organic feel. “Message to Apollo” has a Latin rhythm with one-note piano, a claustrophobic mix and a Patti Smithesque vocal while “How I See It” is a jazzy, waltz-time piece with plucked bass, strings and a muted trumpet solo. The two songs from 2012’s “Tigermending” that close the album are very different; “Mother’s Pride” is a quietly menacing story of lost innocence while the slow, atmospheric synth washes of the Brian Eno/Dave Stewart collaboration “The Secret of Drowning” are genuinely divine. Among the rest of the highlights, the unreleased “Gunshot” from 2006 is a slightly skewed take on country and the intimate “For Everything a Reason” depicts the breakdown of a relationship.

Carina Round has a multi-faceted appeal; she’s not afraid of different approaches or pushing the boundaries. The lyrics can be raw and even shocking at times, but the sublime voice, tackling high and low registers and multi-tracked backing vocals with ease, and the varied arrangements work to create songs that are complete and satisfying. With quality of her songs and ability to sing convincingly in so many different styles, it’s difficult to see why Carina Round hasn’t had success on the same scale as Natasha Khan and Florence Welch. Maybe this time…

“Deranged to Divine” is released on Dehisce Records, distributed by Cargo,(DV1017CD) on Friday July 29th.

If you want to see Carina live, she’ll be play (with special guest She Makes War) here are the dates for her UK tour:

Wednesday 3rd August                   The Globe, Cardiff

Thursday 4th August                        Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

Friday 5th August                              The Lexington, London

Saturday 6th August                         Factory, Manchester

Sunday 7th August                            King Tuts, Glasgow

Tuesday 9th August                          The Loiusiana, Bristol

Wednesday 10th August                  The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes

Thursday 11th August                      Green Door Store, Brighton