Concert: Carina Round NYC

Artist: Carina Round

Date: February 2, 2008

Venue: The Living Room

City: NYC

Review by Karen Hester

What’s so great about sliced bread? Take knife, slice. I prefer Carina Round shows.

She brought all her voices to the Living Room last week. Carina’s shockingly low voice has a gorgeous smooth tone but it leads to weird pronunciation which is a bit village-idiot-ish; when she began a cover of ‘Hot stuff’ in the low voice, it was quite funny (and was probably meant to be). Her shriek is like Karen O’s with a brittle crystal edge – cutting glass aimed at your ear drums. It could be a kung fu weapon – cry of the deranged grasshopper. The low voice is ‘the tiger clears his throat of phlegm.’ Also, she has a high soft breathy voice; a high hard ululating cry; a strangled middle voice involving jaw thrusting.

Sometimes Carina used several voices in one song. Simple ‘Slow down’ was overwhelmed by this, and a dramatic song like ‘Into my blood’ (yey! so glad she played this! love love this song!) is powerful enough done straight, but the voices are astonishing and delightful whether required or not. Why not have some histrionics, recast the polished monochrome album songs as deranged rainbows.

I absolutely adore new song ‘Thief in the sky’ (“an airplane is a thief…”). Perhaps the catchiest thing she’s ever written. It’s terrible loving unrecorded songs, the version in my head isn’t good enough.

When crowd reactions dampened mid-set, Carina promised more anger later. I hope she doesn’t think that’s what people want. I hope it isn’t what people want. Her wild knee-knocking dance and high heel shuffles were followed by eye rolling, arm contortions and the decline and fall of her coiffed hair, and that’s fine if she wanted to do that (whether for theatrical effect or because she lost herself in the music). As long as she doesn’t feel compelled.

Carina says she’s leaving LA, back to the UK, but hopes to fly to NY a fair amount. She referred to ‘the direction my career’s taken”, and said she hopes to record soon “if I can afford it.” Though she has a Living Room following, including people singing along, she had shaking hands and nerves. Carina’s back in March before she disappears a while, and I hope other ectophiles get to see her before she leaves – one of the best musicians I’ve seen these past few months

[Carina Round Official Site]

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