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Carosel – Star EP

Nichola Eastwood


Star is the latest offering from Irish duo Michelle Phelan and Pete McGrane, otherwise known as Carosel.  It arrives as the pair get down to business recording their second full length album.  Four tracks long, it’s something of a short and sweet effort… perhaps a bit sickly sweet for some tastes.

Title track Star is a sugar coated breeze of floaty guitar accompanied by tinkling piano and Michelle’s delicate vocals.  Yet Star’s innocence is only skin deep, as the lyrics serve up a bitter critique of talentless celebrities.  It’s this underlying cynicism that saves the track from becoming a non descript candyfloss haze.

Something I Need takes on a more blues and jazz laden, Winehouse vibe, although Michelle’s beautifully fragile vocals prevent a bland sound alike.  The heavy electronic bass gives the track an edge that compliments the brittleness of Michelle’s vocals.  It’s a refreshing twist on what in recent times has become something of an over done niche.

Easy is a childlike number with Michelle accompanied by Pete on vocal duties to whimsical effect.  Pete’s sunny acoustic guitar does nothing to lessen this, as does the infantile chant of the chorus, ‘Liking it, loving it/ Laughing everyday’. It’s your first childhood crush in song form, complete with the ring of a xylophone and the playful intervention of some grumpy sounding trumpets.

The highlight of this brief outing is the EP’s closing track Take Me.  Less summery flight of fancy and more electronic pop edginess, for me it’s the song that makes the Irish duo and this offering stand out.  Even Michelle’s glass like vocals take on an underlying attitude and their sound is all the better for it.  It’s by far and away the catchiest track here and the most memorable.  You’ll be humming the tune for hours afterwards.

Those with a penchant for light, easy going, summer time pop will adore this record… if, like me, you prefer your tunes lying in rock and indie territory then listen to Take Me and move on.