The Caribbean – William of Orange EP

The Caribbean
William of Orange EP

As a music fan who spends all day listening to albums, I’m a fan of the long player. With good albums, I don’t want it to end, so 60 minutes sometimes isn’t long enough. And with mediocre ones, I want the option of having more, finding a gem upon third or four listens buried somewhere deep where maybe the band itself didn’t even expect it. But I’ve talked to many artists who fondly remember the glory days of the EP format and lament its demise. Although I generally don’t agree, I have to admit that certain bands – and The Caribbean is one – is perfectly suited for a small collection of songs that allow the musicians to stretch their wings, experiment, and compile works that deserve to be heard in between full-lengths.

So while I’ve said many good things about The Caribbean in past reviews, this band just gets better – or maybe I just become more accepting of this unique style. Music aside, another thing worth noting here is the design, quite well done in a fold-out format, with a photo essay of sorts available on the CD (in Flash format) by Hometapes co-founder Sara Padgett.

The opening title track is a perfect example of the unique sounds of The Caribbean. The melodies are beautiful, the vocals sweet, the melodic guitar flowing around the whole thing unique. But the pace is odd, almost forced laid-back, and the mixture of instrumentation gives the song a very subtle psychedelic feel. “Actress” may be my favorite Caribbean track yet. It’s dreamy and layered, with perfect production by Chad Clark, and the whole affair just feels perfect. “Who’s Hollywood Now” shows the strange lyrical approach to the band and also the mix of vocalists, but it’s subtly brilliant, quiet and yet delicately layered. The closing “The Night Panel” shows the unique studio touches – mixing nice acoustic guitar with booming, echoed drums and some odd synth sounds way in the background – yet still features the gorgeous melodies.

Although most reviews of a Caribbean release will point out that the members were in such seminal DC projects as Townies and Smart Went Crazy, neither of those projects form the obvious framework for this. The Caribbean is a band with a fondness for perfect melodies, a deep catalogue of classic pop albums, and a unique outlook on the future of pop music. It’s delightfully subtle and charming in its approach. And the EP format fits the band perfectly. This would be the perfect introduction, and so I highly recommend it.