27 Rue de Mi'chelle
Distributed By: Carrousel
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When Carrousel frontman Joel Piedt graduated college in 2009, he turned down a lucrative job offer (something rather uncommon in one of the worst economy years seen since the Depression) and moved out to Tallahassee, Florida to make a record. Now, three years later, his debut album is a nine-track pop novella called 27 Rue de Mi'chelle.
Inspired by a lost love, the album tells the tale of the various stages of a broken heart, starting off with the simplest - despair. As the album moves forward, there are feelings of anxiety and loss, self-loathing and doubt and a glimmer of hope somewhere in the middle as the couple decides to part ways. Where Do We Go From Here, smack dab in the center of the album is the standout track in this project, starting off in a feeling of limbo, wondering where the relationship can possibly go now that it has gotten so bad and then ending up realizing that where ever they end up, it can only be better than the pain they are currently suffering.
The music of Carrousel is described in promotional material as dream-pop/folk. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I can say that there is a dreamy quality throughout the album. This makes sense as the singer seems to be stuck in a bad dream, begging someone to release him from the nightmare of his destroyed romance so he can return to the bliss he once knew with Michelle. Piedt's vocals, accompanied by some incredibly harmonic, dream-like folk quality music featuring some excellent guitar pieces, reminds me most of Radiohead in Karma Police. Despite the dreamy quality, there is an underlying impression that the singer is trying to tell us something important - relaying some sort of message we are supposed to follow to avoid falling into the mess he has encountered in his life.
Quite honestly, although I wasn't bowled over by 27 Rue de Mi'chelle, I believe Carrousel has tremendous potential. The lyrics are decent and I liked the idea of a central theme to the album, but it's the music that draws you in. The composer and the performers deserve kudos for the beautiful quality of music on this album. I could have been happy simply listening to the tracks had there been no lyrics whatsoever. Yes, there is a folk quality there, what with the acoustic guitars and tambourines, but there's also a modern feel to the album thanks to the electric sounds. I was intrigued by Carrousel's debut album and would love to hear more from this band in the future.