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31 May 2001

Headline Tour
London The Spitz

Lighbulb Song
How I See It
The Waves
Idiot Dance
On Leaving

Review by Jon Lawrence

Carina Round Carina Round + Keane + Baxter
The venue: London Spitz
The date: 31st May 2001

Acoustic meanderings are starting to become a wee bit tedious in my opinion. Just about every young Charlie is ditching his/her electric beast for a more subdued, slighter instrument. If one must venture down this avenue, one must also have the voice to accompany it. Thankfully, tonight's performers have been blessed with some extraordinary vocal capacities, so sing to me children, sing!
First up, and slightly bemused by the whole occasion is slight solo artist Baxter. His noodlings tell a specific story of his wordly endeavours with a soaring vocal range to deliver. Sat all on his lonesome, it is these smaller venues which he would appear most suited. A blissfully mellow opener, for what should be a lethargic audience.

Stepping up the pace a little come relatively new locals Keane whose melodic guitar driven indie, points more than a firm nod at Coldplay. But fair play to the chap upfront, he manages to sublimely reach every note, and deliver some pleasant tunes. Looking rather on the younger side, it is fair to say that time is on Keane's side, and with practise comes record deals.

But the night is meant for Wolverhampton's new (and only?) Queen Carina Round. Having played with the likes of Turin Brakes, Coldplay, Ryan Adams, Ian McNabb and more recently, Glen Tilbrook, it is surprising that this small venue is not packed to the rafters.

Carina is arguably the finest female solo musician in Britain at the moment. Her debut mini album 'The First Blood Mystery' contains some absoloutly exquisite compositions, all magically tinged with Carina's soaring vocals.

Backed by double bass and drums, she launches herself into Lightbulb Song with swift beauty, her vocals careering out of control, swerving through a huge and varied range.

Unfortunately there are always going to be a select few who want to ruin it, and as Carina forms an icy glare in the direction of the less than charitable bar, the majority feel for her. Her songs genuinely have something to say, and with many of them being explained beforehand regarding the death of her grandfather and elusiveness of her father, these ignorant people should feel rather uneasy.

Therefore, How I See It and The Waves take on a much deeper and powerful meaning. Carina wants to express herself, and the majority are attentive, wanting her to open up.

Non album tracks such as Idiot Dance (apparantly written with Ryan Adams) show just as much vigour as those previously mentioned, but still the irritants and ignorance from the far end seem destined to spoil it. Not so, for as Carina's anger raises, so does her passion, with closer On Leaving giving her the opportunity to ferociously exercise the strength in her voice and quite literally scream in the ears of those trying to dampen the spirits.

Tonight was the final gig of her tour, and a seemingly pessimistic Carina Round would love to have whirled up a bigger following. Her time will come, and this charming, humourous, yet deep and powerful woman will get what she richly deserves. Comparisons with PJ Harvey are always going to blight her march, but as her profile raises, these name drops will soon vanish and she will be in a league of her own.

The best things come to those who wait, Carina Round, if there was any justice in this world, you need wait no longer.
Rating: 4½ stars from Author: Jon Lawrence

Originally online at the Drowned In Sound website

Photographer: Ian