steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

The Simple Carnival

"Girls Aliens Food" CD


Genre: power pop

Delmont, PA

January 2010

Simple Carnival's lone Jeff Boller sports a massive hard-on for The Beach Boys and I'm not even kidding, although my phallic inspections are, admittedly, purely figurative. On Girls Aliens Food, Boller self-admittedly pops (not rocks) through eleven shimmering tunes, and at its best moments, one does not even perceive the limitations of a one man (+ studio) band. I'm speaking, of course, about the jubilant ba-bas of "Really Really Weird," the loungey ba-da-das of "Flirt," and the slippery "you-you-yous" of dazzling "You Jump First." The instrumentation is effective though often simple, with plenty of chintzy synths, bouncy basslines, springy guitars, and allegedly a few self-constructed instruments, but it's Boller's ample, multi-layered vocal range which takes centre stage. There's even a blissful a capella piece, which lives up to its name -- "Nothing Will Ever Be As Good" -- as the record's indubitable high point, a sublime and dynamic three minutes of perfectly overdubbed auto-harmony.

Miscalculations are rare on Girls Aliens Food, though flat "Keeping it Quiet" and bossa nova zzz-zzz-er "Over Coffee and Tea" lack the taut hooks of the rest of the album. In addition, the album's home-production, though quite acceptable, occasionally lacks the warmth and fullness of more professional (and expensive) recording set-ups; blank baseboards of silence support many of the songs, revealing a flat foundation during the disc's more spasmodic bits. Still, I don't want to revel in this record's rough spots, because Girls Aliens Food is, by and large, a fundamentally excellent (and eternally infectious) bit of sunny power-pop. Boller has amply rewarded my dip into the long-overdue review bin.

the simple carnival's myspace

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the band, released 2009]