Wisconsin's Carbellion shows their dreams and aspirations with the title of their new EP, Headliner. With two LPs and one split EP, with Outshine, under their belts, it's still good to have goals. Whether the band rises to headliner status from this six song disc is yet to be seen.
Probably the best thing about Headliner is Carbellion's heavier than lead cover of Mountain's Mississippi Queen. But that's only because I love the band and that song, having grown up with both. I wonder if Carbellion would have the musical cojones to cover Theme from an Imaginary Western or Nantucket Sleighride. But I digress.
While one could dismiss this platter of tunes as merely post-grunge American heavy rock, there's more to this EP than meets the ear. And the only way you'll find out is be listening to it more than once or twice. The opener Never and the closer Unsafe Behavior offer solid fast-paced rockers with a strong groove and bristling solos. They're essentially bar fight music. In between, Risky Business/Slight Return and Cities show sublime nuances in Carbellion's arrangements, from subtle to stomping on your neck, and also, especially the latter song, vocalist Cameron's (he was born without a last name) unsuspected versatility. After Mississippi Queen, it's probably the best song here. But can they pull it off live without smothering his vocals. All in all, Headliner is a worthy effort of blistering American heavy rock, just what Carbellion was after.
Whether this album makes Carbellion 'headliners' on tour or not, it does display their penchant and talent for creating genuine American heavy rock.
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