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CarnyMusic - “CarnyMusic” (2018) review

CarnyMusic - CarnyMusic (Self-released, 2018)

CarnyMusic is the solo project of Mike Carnahan, a singer/songwriter based in San Francisco. His newest self-titled EP is a passionate concoction of acoustic folk complete with reverb heavy ballads, soft tamborine-driven percussion, and spacious fingerpicking. Put simply, CarnyMusic is a fresh batch of good ol’ American heart—served bare.

These tracks in many ways are composed with a subtle yet masterful awareness of atmosphere. Drawing on the power of ambient haze and monotones, what could have been a bare-bones vocalist in the studio turns into something much more heartfelt. The metallic dissonance that hovers likes whale calls under the guitar on “Start Another Week” is easily comparable to The Barr Brothers or even S. Carey. If you’re a fan of the former’s more bluesy side, consider skipping to “Close Your Eyes” for some heavy bass that almost seems to mourn alongside the track’s general ambience.

CarnyMusic seems to distinguish himself with his embrace of delicate imperfections that consume the listener from all sides. The EP as a whole is sprinkled with brief moments of static and out of tune instrumentals. But it could not be more welcome. The haunting honesty of the tracks leaves you hungry for me.

- Gabe Kahan
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