CARBS – Joyous Material Failure [Save As]

“Scottish rap”, is not an expression that rolls off the tongue usually for this reviewer, so when one comes across this musical unicorn it is very difficult to try and express opinions; almost like trying to judge a colour by its smell.

Jonnie and James, referred to as CARBS, deliver a seven songs EP that conveys the disappointment of an ordinary routine modern life.

Every track is built up around a mechanical disturbance that gives the band a beat to lay their lyrics on.

All those introductions (from ‘James Special’, ‘Infinite Ammo’ to ‘Fat Back To The Future’) evoke a virtual connotation to some dark gaming world where our society has entrenched itself, where all real social link has disappeared over the weight of all this technology that surrounds it.

Every song feels like player 1 has hit the console so hard out of frustration that it has frozen and the screen is redundantly emitting a crazy sonic code over and over.

Did I misspend my youth? Part of me actually feels like I’ve been in the rooms of Resident Evil 2, one step at the time I climb over the corpses…

The quote, taken from ‘Infinite Ammo’, sets the melancholic mood that emanates from the whole album, the lingering flow of lyrics anchored with a deep Scottish accent genuinely derails any optimism that could be attached to the band’s message (and for anyone who remembers how freakishly impossible it was to fall asleep after playing any Resident Evil game when you were a teenager, this quote is for you!).

‘Pizza Time O’Clock’ for example is an odd one that transports the listener a few decades ago where things used to be naiver, “I’m still fifteen, Gillian Anderson will you marry me?”

Most songs hint at a time were things were simpler contrasting over the fact that today is only here to chase this grasp of reality that has disappeared and cannot be uncovered.

In the concluding track the narration evolves from having residual teenage feelings all over his flesh to being “scared of affection I’m not scared of things, I’m scared of things not happening” hence again exposing this latent inevitability that we all disconnect too easily from one another.

Words: Jeremy Veyret


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