If you’re looking for depressing or gloomy, The Carnival Kids debut album is definitely not what you want to listen to. Adam Ciminello, from Poughkeepsie, NY, has compiled piano driven music and lyrics that make even the morose sound lovely. Although they classify themselves as a rock band, they would be more suited in the piano rock genre along with Ben Folds Five, Muse, or Keane.
Ciminello, who formed the band back in August of 2012, is currently the only official band member, which seems unbelievable while listening to this 16 track album. He is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, and he formed The Carnival Kids after having been involved in several successful acoustic and alternative rock bands. He felt he: “was getting swallowed in the cynicism of today’s music industry, thinking the only way [he] could make a living was to play keyboards for pop stars whose music [he] could barely tolerate. [He] was losing the belief, even worse the desire, to share and promote [his] own music. Thankfully, something in [him] snapped.”
The self titled debut album “explores common themes of love, change, anxieties, and the overall joy for the moments we have and the people we love” says Ciminello. Before listening to the lyrics, what I liked most about this album is the music’s effortless way of taking everyday sorrows and helping you forget the fact that it’s supposed to be sad. When The Carnival Kids was asked about the lyrics not reflecting the sanguine tone of the music, he said he “offsets darker lyrics with brighter upbeat sounds” to pull listeners in opposite directions.
The album makes you want to drive down the road with your windows down and forget about life’s craziness. ‘Daily Miracle’, with its heavenly optimistic beat, encourages life reflection with these words:
“We sought redemption For the days we passed It failed to mention That the good days don’t last All we are Fading numbered stars and broken dreams Inside the in-between…Sometimes love ain’t enough Only you can change yourself Only you can change yourself I hope you do…”
Listening to their first single ‘Bitter Holding’, which was released earlier this year, is like reading the blurb of a book. It tells you the mood of the album with lyrics about not belonging.
The song “Love on Demand” makes a more subtle entrance, until the classic piano pulls you in and creates a beautiful melody that sweeps you away along with the lyrics.
The bass riffs, organ chords and drums beats in ‘Drive Me’ are literally electric, and Ciminello’s voice is a bit reminiscent of Robert Smith of The Cure.
The intro of “Pretty Words” is nostalgic of classic 80’s pop until the synthesizer takes a back seat and lets the guitar take the lead and you are dropped right back to 2013. This song is one of the only songs that takes The Carnival Kids out of the piano rock genre.
As you’re riding along you suddenly hit a speed bump with track 12. “As I Might Seem” pulls you out of your synthesizer induced coma with the mellow groove and 311-esque reggae soul funk fusion mix. There is no other way to explain the feel of this song. It’s true to its title by showing another side of Ciminello, because it’s fantastically different from every other song on the album, making it stand out as one of the best.
The rest of the tracks return you to the piano filled melodies that you’ve become accustomed to. The production and mixing qualities need tweaking and the addition of members may change the sound of this band, but for doing it on his own, Cimenello wrote, scored and produced a respectable album. He is a believer in the music movement. He wants nothing more than to share his passion of music with an album he can be proud of. Well done Adam, well done.