Praise for caroline“Bewitching debut from the London-based octet, blending string-driven Appalachian folk chants with spacious post-rock” – Uncut 8/10
“caroline provide an ideal soundtrack for the reflection needed to push forward again” – Pitchfork
“It seems no task is too ambitious for caroline right now”– Loud & Quiet 8/10
“This is a fitting soundtrack to the times in which we’re living” – Shindig 8/10
“Deeply emotional deconstructed post-rock with heavy doses of orchestral beauty… incredible” – Stereogum
Prior to the release of their self-titled debut album this Friday, London-based eight piece caroline are sharing the album version of their track ‘Dark blue’ today. An earlier version of the song introduced the world to the band when it was released in March 2020, and it was subsequently reworked for the album. ‘Dark blue’ follows earlier singles ‘Good morning (red)’ and ‘IWR’.
With a blend of slow-build guitar music, folk drones and uncompromising climaxes caroline’s unique combination of folk & Midwestern emo has a restrained, but breathtaking, power that have already gained fans at Pitchfork, FADER, The Guardian, NPR & BBC 6Music, were included in NME’s ‘100 Essential new Artists for 2022’, Paste’s ‘Most Anticipated Albums of 2022’ and featured by Stereogum as their first ‘Band To Watch’ this year.
‘Dark blue’ opens the album, and was written the day caroline’s founding members Casper Hughes, Jasper Llewellyn and Mike O’Malley first started playing together in 2017. Llewellyn and Hughes met at university in Manchester, and on moving to London invited Llewellyn’s old friend Mike O’Malley to form a group, rehearsing in the upstairs room of a South London pub. Yet as they kept on playing that hypnotic ‘Dark blue’ riff, it became clear that something altogether deeper was emerging. “As soon as ‘Dark blue’ became more structured, we thought some swoony violin would be good,” says O’Malley. To provide it, they recruited Oliver Hamilton, who had also had a stint on bass in their early days.
As the band’s sound kept expanding, so too did their line-up, eventually becoming an eight-piece completed by trumpeter and bassist Freddy Wordsworth, another violinist Magdalena McLean, percussionist Hugh Aynsley and flute, clarinet and saxophone player Alex McKenzie. By the time the cast settled towards the end of 2019, the songs too were expansive and emotive pieces, their rich palette drawing on a mixture of choral singing, Midwestern emo and O’Malley and Llewellyn’s roots in Appalachian folk.
Their debut album carolinewas mixed by John ‘Spud’ Murphy (black midi, Lankum). On it, songs can cascade like an avalanche with the full force of so many instruments, squalling and rumbling on the edge of all-out collapse. At other times they slip back into impossibly fragile moments of quiet – a simple bassline or a rattle of snare the only sound amid a dark sea of silence. caroline know exactly the right balance between restraint and release. “Sometimes things sound much better when there’s empty space,” says Llewellyn. “Sometimes you might populate [a song] with too many things and forget that an element on its own is enough.”
caroline are: Jasper Llewellyn – acoustic guitar, cello, drums, vocals Mike O’Malley – electric guitar, vocals Casper Hughes – electric guitar, vocals Oliver Hamilton – violin Magdalena McLean – violin Freddy Wordsworth – trumpet, bass Alex McKenzie – clarinet Hugh Aynsley – drums, percussion