Thursday, January 6, 2011

Record review: Carta Marina - 'End of an Era'

Posted by Frank

Back in 2009 I wrote about Hold the Ghosts from Chicago-based four-piece Carta Marina. Having considered that collection of songs more of a live demo than an official release, the band since returned to the studio to revamp some of the material and add some new tracks to the mix. The result is End of an Era, a nine-track album that finds the the quartet honing their style and building on the strongest elements of Hold the Ghosts.

Much of Carta Marina's material sets a distinct mood with an atmospheric, nighttime ocean-side feel. It's a vibe the band seems to be knowingly playing up, reflected even in their Medieval sea map-referencing name and corresponding nautical album artwork. This particular element of the music is probably their strongest suit and something that sets them apart most from the typical indie rock sound. It's easy to drift away into the album's most ambient moments such as the title track and instrumental "Death Blossom."

That's not all there is to End of an Era, though. There's another side to Carta Marina that's a bit more straightforward, as heard on tracks such as the upbeat, rocking "Arcadia" and "Sister Bay," perhaps the closest the band comes to catchy and pop-minded. The quartet sounds comfortable and confident exploring both of these sides, so it will be interesting to see what direction their music takes as they continue to grow and evolve. For now, take a listen to End of an Era and let yourself get lost in the alt-rock ambiance.

End of an Era is available for listening and purchase on Bandcamp. The band will be officially celebrating the album's release tonight, January 6th at Schubas, so head out and take in their sounds live. The Well, Safe Haven and Geoff Dolce are also on the bill. More info and tickets here.


Check out more record reviews:
Hemmingbirds - 'Death Wave'
Archie Powell & the Exports - 'Skip Work'
Manwomanchild - self-titled LP
Carbon Tigers - 'The Burrows'
Gold Motel - 'Talking Fiction'
Dastardly - 'May You Never...'

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