Home > News & Reviews > Caroline Street

Caroline Street - Salt And Vinegar (Album Review)

Monday, 07 January 2013 Written by David Ball
Caroline Street - Salt And Vinegar (Album Review)

If you're from Cardiff the chances are the band name here has already piqued your interest. 'Caroline Street' (also known as chippy lane or chip alley) is a well known avenue of late night/early morning takeaways in Cardiff's city centre frequented by those in need of food before making their way home after a nights clubbing. Why then would a band based in Helsinki, Finland use this as their name? The answer is lead singer and songwriter Tom Morgan who was brought up in Pembrokeshire, West Wales before moving to Helsinki 8 years ago and found it had a nice ring when deciding on his band name. While the wooden chip forks used as the bands logo (they plan to print some and use them instead of business cards) may give the impression this is all some sort of gimmick, he's deadly serious about turning what's currently a hobby into a full time job as a professional musician and on this evidence he's well on his way.

Image'Salt And Vinegar' is the band's debut release and, despite the remainder of the band all being Finnish, there's none of that country's typical heavy metal sound here. This is very clearly an album influenced by British music with Morgan's songwriting style that of telling short stories to music in the same vain as Ray Davies or fellow Welshman Kelly Jones, indeed the snappy pop-punk of 'Bus Stop Rolex' wouldn't sound out of place on the Stereophonics own debut 'Word Gets Around'.

With all of the band working full time jobs outside of music to release an album as polished as 'Salt And Vinegar' is quite an achievement. It's well produced and professional throughout with some excellent indie-pop songs scattered through. Of it's 13 tracks on the 'deluxe' physical version (11 on the digital release), only two clock in at over 4 minutes and Morgan's excellent vocals, regularly balanced with some beautiful female harmonies delivered by Sannu Schadewitz make it a very easy album to listen to.

Plenty of styles are demonstrated throughout; while the jangly electric guitar indie of 'The Music Animal' bounces along at a good pace. 'Photographic' offers a cello led ballad which is delivered with a tender vocal, the contrast between the two sitting back to back really show off Morgan's vocal versatility.

Debut single 'Kamikaze' has an Oasis esque acoustic intro providing a familiarity which makes it easy to hum along to but its quality lies in a deep lyric showing he can write about the darker side of society too. 'Take It All Away' is a song of economic disillusionment set to a subtle backing of piano and cello again emphasising that, having been writing for 15 years he has plenty to say.

Morgan has said that while he enjoys writing observational songs he tries to veer away from autobiographical writing. Clearly that's a rule he strays from on 'New' where he sings of "The part where I'm moving on" and "hope lies in living off the music, Sharing my sounds with all of you" it seems the most personal song here and there's a real sense of purpose in his vocal delivery for what is the strongest song on the album. 'I'll Take Dreams' follows a similar personal storyline although it doesn't quite grab you the same way.

As a debut album released by a group who're not a full time band this is a very solid effort. Musically it doesn't particularly challenge you but if you dig a little the lyrical quality gives the songs a greater depth than is first noticeable. I've got no doubt Tom Morgan is a name to keep your eye on for the next 18 months as focussing fully on music could really yield something.

'Salt And Vinegar' is available digitally now from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play with a full physical release date to be announced shortly. A limited supply of copies are available at the upcoming live shows and from Spillers Records in Cardiff.

We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

No related news to show
< Prev   Next >