It's not often that you run into a musical artist with any sort of true talent as far as vocals, let alone writing. In today's music industry, it can sometimes feel as if we are being spoon fed manufactured pop music which is no better for your soul than fast food is for your health. Through my various ventures in the world of music outside of the United States, I've happen upon a handful of truly terrific artists who definitely bring something to the table when it comes to real talent. One of my first discoveries was Olivia Lufkin. With her array of pop, rock, punk, electronica and, at times, borderline metal sounds, I figured her for one in a million. Little did I know that musical talent seems to flow through the blood of not only her, but most of her family. While checking out the latest Olivia news, I came across a lesser know artist which turned out to be her sister, Caroline.
While not nearly as successful as her famed sister, Caroline has slowly emerged as a force in the realm of eletronica and experimental sound. While she did recently release an album in January of this year, I'd like to focus on her first full length album. Murmurs, at a glance, doesn't seem like much, as it's cover art lacks the flash and glamor of many Japanese Pop artists. All you see is simply a girl laying about with a flower in her hair, and across the top of her record reads simply "Caroline." Nothing flashy in the least by todays standards, but this is a classic of case of you cannot judge a book by its cover...or in this case, an album. Once you pop in your disc, you are greeted by the warm and, at times, seemingly playful voice of Caroline as she spreads her appeal out for all to admire.
The standout track, which you are sure to find on Youtube, is "Bicycle," a haunting yet angelic tune that finds it's way into your heart and proceeds to take you on a journey. It's softened trumpet opening caresses your ears right before Caroline's angelic voice pulls you in and asks you to give her your attention. It's slower pace and story-telling theme almost reminds you of something you may have experienced in your childhood; perhaps the first time a young girl discovers love and the effect it has on her soul. As the song progresses, you are lulled into a sort of trance that envelops your senses and just as you think you have developed a liking, perhaps even a love for the journey, it is indeed over. As soon as it concludes, oddly enough, you may find yourself looking for the back button on your player; the feelings of wanting to listen to it again overtaking you.
Another standout is "Drove Me to the Wall" which has faster pacing than that "Bicycle," but just as haunting. It's soft musical accompaniment works well with Caroline's light voice as she stretches her singing talents, pulling off a superb vocal performance.
"Everylittlething," which is spelled correctly in this case, introduces a slightly heavier electronica sound. Still bringing the goods vocally, Caroline explores a more playful and somewhat less serious side to her music while still pulling you into her world. The track sounds as if it could evolve into a dance number if she'd decided to speed up the tempo. However, you will find yourself thanking Caroline for keeping it mellow as the song brings a comfort into your heart and lets you relax instead of beating your head against a wall as most dance music seems to do.
While far from mainstream, Caroline lets everyone know that she isn't just another Pop Princess (she is known for turning down a major label recording contract simply because they wanted to make her "too pop") as her music and voice are more than enough to make her a well respected artist in the industry. Filled with airy and wonderful vocals as well as soothing and sometimes fragile beats, Murmurs is a rare gem in this watered down, manufactured pop era.