Album Review: Carnival Youth – No Clouds Allowed

No Clouds Allowed

Carnival-Youth-No-Clouds-AllowedReleased July 10th 2015

Words: Nick Jacques

Carnival Youth emerged from Latvia’s capital city Riga in 2012. In a city that’s renowned more for attracting stag dos, it’s refreshing to hear that the city can also conjures up decent music acts too.
In terms of media attention, the band have come far. They have more than 11K likes on their facebook page and will be performing at numerous festivals all over Europe this year.  Carnival Youth have created their own carnival of sorts and it’s pleasing to say the least. Their set at last year’s The Great Escape festival in Brighton has only increased their fan-base too. They just released their debut EP last May and their first album proper is full of encouraging sounds which will hopefully mean bigger and better things are still yet to come.

For a debut album, it’s pleasing to hear an array of textures being projected for the listener’s pleasure. No Clouds Allowed opens with an uplifting song titled Never Have Enough which has a pleasant folk strum that echoes Mumford & Sons pre-Wilder Mind – The band make good use of the vocal build up for the chorus which is definitely reminiscent of early Mumford & Sons. Moonboy adds crunching synths and distorted vocals to display a slight melancholic atmosphere. Tree By Tree consists of crashing symbols, a crawling bass riff and feather-light electronics giving the album quite a robust body.
One thing that impresses about No Clouds Allowed is the cohesiveness is possesses. It’s a well-structured and thought out body of work. Every last effort has been made to ensure that every beat and chord is not out of place. Traffic Lights is a fine example of this and climaxes with a brief but pleasing smudge of guitar distortion.
Browneyes And All the Rest sprinkles yet more soothing vocals with a commanding air and the jangly guitar riffage plays out with a comfortable if not familiar feel which is both easy to admire and digest.
Carnival Youth keep up the pace with the addictive and infectious Words Like Birds which consists of chorus chants and existentialist musings. It’s a highlight for me on the album and shows the strength of their material. It’s clear to see that there is potential for Carnival Youth to build upon this. They go about their business in a professional and admirable manner.
See The World really sees the drumming come to life – there are different styles crammed into all but 3:21 seconds and its impressive to hear them trying out different styles – Its enable them to be both brave and creative with the canvas they are painting for themselves here.The track Sometimes finds them, surprisingly, in a more Franz Ferdinand mood, as they let loose and let the music do the talking – with strong backing vocals giving the song a pulse and the drums supporting them.

They have the ability to keep things interesting by not giving much away – they encompass a variety of styles which they make work to their advantage.
Just when you thought they couldn’t possibly have anything left in their creative cannon, out they come with the Sigur Ros flavoured Akmentini – which is also the only track sung in their native language. They approach the end their first album in a nice endearing way too– violins and xylophones converse whilst yet again those soothing vocals swoon in and out in a pleasant fashion. It ends the album on a note that is full of both warmth and sombreness. It is a fine way to end proceedings and who knows what this gang of creative upstarts from Riga will serve up next?

Watch the video for Never Have Enough here:


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