Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Review: Dana Carmel
Dana Carmel – Validity (Dana Carmel Music)
Raised in Philadelphia, educated in New York, and now resident in San Francisco, Dana Carmel isn’t afraid to go out looking for her muse. On the West Coast it sounds like she may have found it. Her voice, both fresh and fragile, is a flawed tool but it’s perfectly in tune with the material, songs that ponder the everyday vagaries of love and friendship, and their side-effects such as loneliness and petty point scoring. Still, better to have loved and lost, and all that, and better still if someone writes songs about the process that shed a little light.
I’m tempted to declare Carmel a pop singer-songwriter, which is no bad thing in itself, but push past the surface melodies and welcoming airs and there are some interesting influences at play. Take “Should Coulda Woulda”, its tumbledown vocals and slashing guitar wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a late ‘70s jukebox between a new Blondie single and something by The Cars. “Super Girl” straddles the all out commercial alt. rock of Garbage and Liz Phair’s studied rejection of too much radio play, and “Right Now” is prime Brill Building pop, the sort of thing Carole King used to write before lunch.