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S. Carey - Break Me Open (Album Review)

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

This is the end. The desert is on fire. Rainforests are turning to mud. Pacific islands are being swallowed by the sea. It’s late stage capitalism. Elon Musk is buying Twitter and the death-worshipping corporate oligopoly is defining every characteristic of our lives with its narcissism and greed. Oh, and S. Carey is releasing a new album.

In the four years since the Bon Iver multi-instrumentalist penned his last solo record, Carey has gone through some tricky life changes. A divorce, some introspection, lockdown. Much of this has been brought to bear on ‘Break Me Open’, where there is vulnerability and there is sadness. There is also a kind of weighty-yet-milquetoast self absorption that runs through this record.

When the music does actually grow some wings, on Paralyzed, it is off-putting in a different way.

This track feels somehow horribly corporate, as though it is meant to be played at the finale of a TV show that’s run for too long.

Life was not meant to be this way. Depression is real and sadness is sadness. These are serious issues. But despite its protestations, this does not feel like a serious album. It is stasis. Tracks like Sunshower and Waking Up fade to grey before you have even got to the chorus.

‘Break Me Open’ is a tedious mope around the broken hinterland of the soul. It’s 10 of half remembered piano ditties bedded out by cheap strings and reverb that are meant to sound like Radiohead or Sigur Rós. It doesn’t sound like Radiohead or Sigur Rós.


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