The Caribbean – Verse By Verse

The Caribbean
Verse By Verse

Picking up where their first EP left off, The Caribbean add hints of a more indie pop their sheer dreamy sound, creating an album that is an absolutely wonderful listen from start to end. This DC-area band features members of Townies and Smart Went Crazy, and their sound is an effortless blend of influences, from 60’s influenced psychedelic rock to dreamy, shoegazing pop to more modern indie pop.
To say that this album is good isn’t quite enough, yet describing why it’s so good is a difficult task. Perhaps it’s because The Caribbean don’t attempt to overwhelm you with their music, instead enjoying a more laid back approach, with flowing, dreamy songs that threaten, at times, to put you in a trance. Perhaps it’s because they take the quirky, retro elements of your favorite Elephant 6 bands and combine them with those dreamy sounds to create a more modern psychedelic sound. Perhaps it’s because these songs will have you tapping your feet and smiling at first listen and marveling at their beauty upon repeated listens.
The album kicks off with the spacey “I’ll Simplify My Life (in Fremont),” a lovely and slightly quirky pop song with plenty of piano and a kind of Elephant 6 aesthetic. “Front Row at the Rodeo” is a more upbeat track, with a lovely 70s-style guitar line and a heavily atmospheric backdrop. And perhaps the best song here, “Help Would Only Confuse Me,” is formed around a basis of acoustic guitar and pure pop songwriting, ala Elliott Smith or Destroyer, but there’s enough odd percussion and hints of unique instrumentation to give the tune a playful quality.
The atmospheric, lulling affect the band’s earlier work was known for is laid on heavily on the beautiful title track, a song that will tempt you to hit repeat and doze off. You can sway to the laid-back and melodious “Knife Replaces Blade,” with its wonderful acoustic guitar layered among keys and bass and drums, and “To Call Your Very Own” even rocks out at times, with louder drums and guitar interspersed with quieter moments and some softly spoken vocals.
With its odd, brushed drums, somber vocals, and even whistling, “I Am the Mosque” is almost haunting at times, while “What Would Jane Jacobs Say?” is bouncy and poppy in a Pavement-esque sort of way. Another favorite song, “Mancunian Candidate” has some gorgeous guitar and swirling, echoed vocals and drums for a very powerful, very soaring effect. “Girl at Fairgrounds” closes off the album with another quiet, lovely track, putting piano to good use.
I find something different to love about this album every time I listen. Depending upon my mood, I latch on to the quieter and prettier tracks that are almost hallucinogenics in their lulling quality or to the more poppy, guitar-based songs that give a nod to the Guided By Voices and Applies in Stereo folks. But all of these songs flow perfectly, with a quiet and just slightly quirky quality that makes this album wholly unique. An almost perfect release!