Review: Captives on the Carousel – The Violet Bank Sessions

It’s been a while. A real, extremely long, veritably interminable length of time. For a moment there, I thought they had faded, lost in an unknown swirling amusement ride of time. Lo and behold, Captives on the Carousel, back once more, their sparse, intimate music gliding over foggy hills. Their souls wet and cold. Outside, an emotional drizzle washes grey bodies over and over, never to dry again. Seven lucky songs permeate, and the chilly atmosphere warms.

The Violet Bank Sessions is a mix of old and new, both a refresher and a morsel of things to come. ‘Warm animals’ and ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ are the usual Captives fare: introspective, warm, and a shade gothic, perhaps at home with Elizabeth Gaskell‘s horror period. ‘Geese’ introduces wind instruments to the mix, giving that Northern solemnity you can only experience when you spend a chunk of your life torn between warm summers and bitter winters.

Re-working old songs is tricky. How much do you change? How much do you leave unscathed? None of the tracks suffer from massive changes, but there’s an increase in the urgency of  ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ with a spot of low-key percussion. ‘Turn off the sun’, an old cut from a Christmas single, get an enhancement, finally having that “complete” feeling. Whatever was missing in the previous cut is now there, in royal, purple clothes, for all to gaze.

The Violet Bank Sessions is a mellifluous murder of crows, chattering and murmuring in old oak trees and tree-filled parks. A bespoke EP for Autumn, where green fades to brown, red, orange, and yellow. The best season, with a soundtrack with two best friends who keep spinning even if the lights in the carousel are dimming in the distance.

Words: Sam J. Valdés López

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