(Rough Trade)


When London’s mysterious caroline first reared their heads above the surface, and ripples of the band’s debut offering ‘Dark Blue’ still wandered the corridors of the derelict swimming pool complex where the track had first been captured, all that remained non-negotiable was by no means is this going to be another meat-and-potatoes guitar outfit. Exactly two years on and this clouded sentiment continues to drape the band’s guarded reputation, with the arrival of their much-anticipated, talismanic debut album.

Born of hours upon hours of communal improvisation sessions, caroline’s music is as comforting as it is unsettling. Writhing string arrangements routinely leap from backdrop as they vibrate and explode, like dust particles against the still air that surrounds them. Nestled amongst tactile interludes of violently plucked guitar strings, the sensuous ebb and flow of ‘IWR’ swings off-kilter between something as physical as it is intangible, slipping fast and uncontrollably through outstretched fingers.      

Throughout the fluctuating length of the track list, the band experiment with what they call “extreme closeness”, recording guitars as quietly as possible next to microphones with the gain jacked up to maximum. The effect brings caroline into full swing, lodged somewhere between muteness and magnitude, with calling vocals appearing somehow disconnected and far away from the music itself. It’s these considered quirks and blemishes that stand caroline well north of their sparse-sounding counterparts as the band continue to throw more on the pile of unanswered questions.