Carnabys ScrollerLet me just say this from the start; we like The Carnabys here at Riot Towers, we like them a lot. We like the melodies, we like the two guitars playing off each other, we like the variety of the rhythms, we like Jack Mercer’s lyrics and we love the incredible energy that’s injected into each and every song.

You can look at influences as far back as the beat boom groups of the sixties, but the sound of the suburban power pop bands of the late seventies/early eighties (and I’m including The Jam in that) resonates strongly in the sound of The Carnabys. And finally, Jack Mercer’s lyrics bring the contemporary edge to the songs with tales of life in the modern metropolis. The songs are about people, real people, people you can believe in, people you could bump in to in the pub or down the shops. The people that appear in songs by Jamie T, Mike Skinner and Akira the Don.

“Too Much, Never Enough” sounds like it  was meant to capture the band’s fresh, spiky and exuberant live sound without squashing the dynamics too much, and it’s worked a treat. The single “Elizabeth” pulses along, powered by Ben Gittins and Frankie Connolly’s guitars alternating beats from the left and right of the stereo spectrum and punctuated by an almost a cappella breakdown, while the album’s opener, the slightly surreal “Great Dane in the Graveyard” (a true-ish story) is so fast it could easily fall apart if the guitars weren’t so locked in to James Morgan’s frenetic drums and Mike Delizo’s pounding bass. This is a band in the proper sense of the word. They create a glorious noise by playing together; no big guitar solos, no egos, everyone plays a part in creating each perfectly-crafted little suburban story.

Special mentions as well for “Peaches and Bleach” which in Jack’s words is about ‘working on something important and someone else inadvertently fucking it up’, the self-harm and self-denial of “Scars and Safety Pins” and “Down He Goes”, the story of a friend of the band who finds trouble whether he looks for it or not; apparently he has a glass jaw as well. Not a great combination.

No glass jaws, Achilles’ heels or cauliflower ears for “Too Much , Never Enough”, though. It’s arms of iron, tapping toes and brass necks all the way.

“Too Much, Never Enough” is out Friday August 19th or you can still pre-order here. All profits from pre-order sales go to the Music Venue Trust.

Here’s the video for the current single “Elizabeth”:

Carnabys ScrollerIt’s easy for people like me to type stuff about how terrible it is that small music venues are closing down across the UK. For various reasons, mainly economic, venues as diverse as Madame Jojo’s, The 12 Bar Club, The Marquee and The Astoria have closed in recent years. Whether you think it’s about economics or cultural cleansing, the end result’s the same; it’s becoming more and more difficult for small bands to build an audience and develop themselves by playing the small gig circuit. So who’s doing anything about it? Well the Music Venue Trust is, campaigning on issues related to the survival of small venues. It’s gathered support from the business and creative sides of the industry and artist patrons include Elbow, Frank Turner and Neil Hannon.

This list has now been joined by The Carnabys. The band has built up a following for their powerful live act by playing in those venues that are at risk now and they want to do something about it by backing the “Save Live Music” initiative. But this isn’t just about a photo opportunity and a few canapes; this is about providing financial backing. Their much-anticipated second album “Too Much Never Enough” comes out in August and the band is launching it for pre-release now with all of the profits from the sales going to “Save Live Music”. That’s what you call putting you money where your mouth is. Not only that, the band is using their promotional campaign for the album and the lead single, ”Scars and Safety Pins/Caught in the Rain” to raise awareness of the live music situation.

You can pre-order “Too Much Never Enough” here, and all of the profits will go to “Save Live Music”. Meanwhile, we’ll try to get a review for you in the next few weeks.