Album review: Carousel Kings – ‘Plus Ultra’

Carousel Kings are back with all their friends on their newest release Plus Ultra which features 10, you read that right, 10 guest appearances across the 11-track album. The Sophomore release via Victory Records has Carousel Kings back and better than ever.

Fresh, fun and fiery, Plus Ultra has Carousel Kings branching out, trying new instruments and vocal styles that elevates the band to the next level. Vocalist William Barovick describes the new album “’Plus Ultra’ is a culmination of years of growth and we’re ready to work our hardest, create joy through music, and light a new fire under our own asses.”

The opening and title track, “Plus Ultra” is a snappy pop punk track featuring Pete Zengerle and Bill Cardella of Hang Tight with fun guitar riffs and is probably what I expected to hear most from CK. It’s a nice nod to their classic sound. With track two, “Move Slow,” the first Carousel Kings collab with a female artist comes to fruition and shines with a unique electronic sound. The guitar work on “Code Breaker (Smile)” is exceptional. I actually backed this song up several times to appreciate the instrumentals more fully and was thrilled over and over again by how much I loved this track. It’s feverish pace and passionate prose play so well together – the track is just phenomenal.

Award for best song title has to go to “Great White Buffalo,” the hilariously coined term for the one that got away.  While the title is funny, if you’ve seen Hot Tub Time Machine the song is a sad and slow ballad of heartache with standout chorus lyrics “I wish you really wanted to choose me, but you can’t even look at me, the thought of me leaves you trembling, I’m a monster, an imposter, you say you don’t know, after everything.” “Great White Buffalo” is raw and real as you can feel the pain while it takes you back to the memories of lost love.

The album closes out with “Jamais Vu” featuring Ricky Armellino and Jack Esbenshade of Hawk, a slow-burn song building up to a striking chorus. “Jamais Vu” provides nice closure to the album with pleasant melodies. Jamais Vu, a French phrase roughly meaning “never seen,” refers to the phenomenon of experiencing a situation that one recognizes in some fashion, but nonetheless seems very unfamiliar.

Plus Ultra is certainly familiar; it is the Carousel Kings we love, expanded and evolved into a well-rounded, well-executed album where we see the band open up to their fans and grow as people to create a fresh and meaningful collaborative album that is fun, deep and crisply mastered.

TAGS: Carousel Kings | Victory Records

Jessi McKee

Twitter: @jmckeephotos

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