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|2. Pink & Black|
|4. Where's My Love|
|6. All I Need|
|7. Drove Me To The Wall|
|8. I'll Leave My Heart Behind|
Following the critical and fanatical praise of last year's otherworldly "Where's My Love" single, Tokyo's Caroline releases her enchanting debut. "Murmurs" is a thing of blessed beauty that defies easy description, and it's nearly impossible to attach words to the supernatural brilliance of Caroline's songs. No samples were used. Dozens of live acoustic instruments (pianos, harps, bells, guitars, strings, and hand drums) are shaped around Caroline's crystalline voice and threaded together by warm bass and dense beats. With a transcendence that could give you chills on a blistering summer day just as easily as it could warm your body on a bitterly cold night, it's no wonder Caroline has developed a reputation as queen of the "snow jams."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was delighted and surprised by how much I liked her music. Caroline's vocals tend to have a more innocent and dreamy vibe, as opposed to Olivia's more emotional/passionate outpouring. Both sisters do share a love for trip-hop/IDM, and Caroline's approach to that influence is more low-key and minimalistic.
I disagree with another reviewer's comment about how the harder sounding tracks on Caroline's album sounds dated and cheesy--this could only be a comment from someone who might not understand Caroline's influences. she does listen to a lot of IDM artists and that glitchy/arppegiated 16th note synth arrangement is part of that electronic movement. I personally love "Every Little Thing," because it showcases a different vibe, and the timbre of her voice is also quite different. The way she projects her subtle coquettish charm as she sings "Every little thing...you do, Every little thing...you say..." gives me chills.
I'm very happy to see another member of the Lufkin family blossoming into a new force in music. I can't wait to see what their brother Jeff does when he's ready to release some of his own solo material. Whatever work he's done on his sisters' albums I already love.
Many of the songs are slow, peaceful mixtures of electronic and real instruments. Stand out tracks are the opener "Bicycle," which opens with a trumpet playing softly and peacefully; first single "Where's my Love," which has a heavenly uplifting feeling; second single "Sunrise," which is filled with warmth; "All I Need," a solid pop song with wonderful lyrics and arrangements; "I'll Leave my Heart Behind," which really resonates with me on an emotional level; and "Winter," which is a lovely album closer. "Drove me to the wall," although it isn't as wonderful as the previously listed tracks, is also a great song. "Pink and Black" and "everylittlething" have a little more oomph to them by adding in a livelier beat. This method works well on "Pink and Black" but proves to be a little out of place on "everylittlething." As much as an enjoy Jeff Lufkin's arrangements, they have a strange dated feeling here that makes the track almost a little cheesy sounding. Still, next to eight simply wonderful tracks, "everylittlething" probably comes out sounding a lot worse than it really is.
In conclusion, "Murmurs" is a wonderful debut album. So wonderful that after listening to it, I decided that I needed all of Caroline's music. Unfortunately, beyond this, she only has two singles and a track on a compilation CD for Temporary Residence. Caroline is truly a talented artist, just starting out. I hope that she continues to put out lovely music. I will be looking foreword to future releases.
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.
And that's what this CD is.
Words cannot describe it.