Jordan Carp

BMI, 2008

REVIEW BY: Sarah Curristan


The area of musical influences is tricky to negotiate. When you come right down to it, whether consciously or unconsciously, you have the choice to simply homage (or rip-off…) the artists you like; or, alternatively, to instill the qualities of what influences you in your own music, interpreting it in a different way. In theory, it sounds pretty simple. In reality, it’s not. There’s that hazy line between what constitutes an influence and what’s just plain plagiarism.

With New Jersey multi-instrumentalist Jordan Carp, his third release Spaceman lands squarely in the former category. The influences are all there, the littered evidence of Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Radiohead, vocally maybe even some Beck, but present in a way that doesn’t overshadow his own style -- a side serving of influence, if you will.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Spaceman seeps the celestial from title track opener to closing song “Rotten Girl” with music that is both hypnotic and detached. But in case you were worried that you were bordering on the dangerous territory of latter-day Radiohead, the album is interjected with upbeat piano/guitar tracks that allow it to steer far clear.

From phlegmatic second song “Lightning And Thunder” onwards, Spaceman seems to war between these two styles, and in the end it’s the more accessible up-tempo material that seem to win out. The melodies of tracks like “Fantasies Of You” with its catchy piano intro and a cappella finish and the acoustic ballad “NYC Skyline” seem to stand out against the pall of “The Poet” and “Rotten Girl.” Highlight moments on Spaceman include “Far Superior Nose” and “Why Do You Do It?”.

Carp’s lyrics prove to be one of the most interesting aspects of the album. “Far Superior Nose” contends with the pretension of wine tasting with lines like “Maybe he knows what he’s talking about / But all of this lingo I can do without / Smoky and smooth, complex and corky / Give me a stem full of Carlo Rossi / Because I can’t smell any asparagus / I should never have read those tasting notes,” while “Why Do You Do It?” offers a quirky chorus: “Where is your MySpace? How do you show your work?”. His songs play out like unabridged stories, coming across fresh and earnest.

Overall, the cosmic style of music running steadily through the album gels Spaceman together well as a record. “Did you take your chance or did you play it safe?” Carp sings in “The Poet,” and whatever the outlook on this album, Carp definitely can’t be accused of the latter.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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