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Carol

“Soiled” EP

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words by tom johnson

photography by morganne boulden

Where some voices are made to merge into their musical background, like clouds on a grey day, Carol’s voice leaps into the foreground, bold and spectacular, a colourful bird darting and swooping against those same ashen skies.

Across ‘Soiled’, her stunning new 6 track EP which is streaming below, she twists that vocal into numerous striking shapes, equally absorbing in a tense hushed whisper as it is in the rather majestical moments where she lets it simply soar to fascinating heights.

Released this week via the excellent Disposable America, ‘Soiled’ features six new songs, each one memorable in its own right. “Cavities” and “Spill” are said to document her dark internal strife, where brighter moments such as “Comfort Me” offer something altogether more positive, reflections on the healthier place she finds herself today.

Indeed, the whole piece is pitched as a spring blossoming after a decidedly heavy winter, and it’s perhaps that reason which lends it such a sense of emotional heft in this of all years. A great heaving swallow of breath. A leap into the light.

While it’s absolutely that voice that takes centre stage – a gleaming cousin of Weyes Blood and Kate Bush’s dexterous delivery – the musical backing, though somewhat faded, acts as its perfect foil, providing an agile backdrop, itself an ever-shifting collection of moods. On “Swell” it does just that, providing a somewhat gnarly, white noise cloak for the spooky spoken word undercurrent that tumbles forwards alongside Carol’s lead voice, while on the poweful “Spill” it shows that it’s never afraid to burst open too, the thrilling strings winding their way through the track before the rattling drums pound like a billowing storm at the door.

The result is something both dramatic and wholehearted, a sweeping collection of songs that can be both gentle and forthright, robust and sincere; like experience all four seasons in just one day. Listen below right now.

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