Smalltown America


Captain Christ Reviews Carnivores 'Let's Get Metaphysical'

"Dumbed down, knucklehead music this is not."

For a few years Glaswegian riff machine Carnivores have been slaying venues up and down the country, with consistently energetic and lively performances. In 2013 they released their debut album ‘You Disgust Me’ and this year they had the opportunity to release the follow up via Small Town America records. Having heard most of the tracks live we were intrigued to see what they got up to when they hit the studio with renowned producer Bruce Rintoul.

Opening track and title track ‘Let’s Get Metaphysical’ shows the more hooky element of the band whilst keeping it musically it very interesting. This is a great start to the record and sets things off nicely before leading into the opening riff of "Insecuricor", the first single taken from the album. This track shows the elements of Carnivores music that we have grown to love, a hooky chorus and big interesting riffs, however the slow transition into the bridge doesn’t flow as smoothly as it could, which is disappointing as the rest of the song is very strong.

"Crooked Teeth" is one of the slower more anthemic tracks on the album and it surprisingly made us think of Feeder and the last half of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot'. The track is solid however will probably be lost within the album as the rest outshines. This is probably due to Carnivores being known for the energetic, up tempo live sets and this doesn’t remind people of that. It brings a poppier element to proceedings, providing a moment to breathe amongst the razor sharp riffs and angry energies. In stark contrast, the next track "Apathy in the UK" blasts in with a killer riff which kicks off one of the better tracks on the record. The expansion on this riff towards the end of the track shows Carnivores’ adventurous approach to song-writing whilst keeping a few hooks in for good measure.

"Watching Fireworks" is a track we’ve known for over a year through countless appearances in the live set. Again this track features some cracking riffs, in this case including the main hook in the song which highlights Kenny Leckie’s apparent disgust over 4/4. Which possibly brings us to the subject of matter of the next track "Scottish Football". However we know this not to be true as it explores the ‘religious’ divide in the city. Even though this is a fresh album bursting with new musical content, Carnivores’ fans have known about this song for years and it is an integral part of any of their live performances, with the lyrics ‘You Disgust Me’ being used in the naming of their previous release.

After these two familiar tracks, "A Shadow Of A Shadow" explores new territory for the listener and features a new element to their sound. BRASS! A whole ruddy horn section! The production on this record has definitely taken a step up from previous efforts and the addition of these elements really makes the record stand out as a separate entity to their live show, and shows they are trying out new things musically with efforts to develop on their sound.

Evidence of this development is found in the next track, an alternative version of “The Second Wave of Yuppie Scum”, which was also on 'You Disgust Me', now more in line with their live performance version. This shows the band has grown through their extensive gigging experience and adapted and tightened up their songs. Lyrically the song is about the difficulties they’ve had in the music industry and how people they trusted took advantage of them, and how they’ve grown stronger through this. Referencing “sharks” and “enemies” Mr. Leckie exclaims with a fiery passion “You’re Not One Of Us!”, showing that they won’t be beaten so easily. The track builds to the powerful ending over which we hear bassist Grant MacCall’s infamous screams of ‘Liars, fakers, decision makers! WE HAVE COME FOR YOUR BLOOD! ’.

"John Maynard Keynes" is another slice of angsty, noisy brilliance! Staccato, punchy riffs punctuate the track, which has a jittery and violent energy. Raging about economic issues, which is a clear theme throughout their music. This is socialistic, politically conscious punk rock at its finest, coming from the depths of the socially lower classes of Paisley and the West of Scotland! Kenny is not just another angry young man, he has a keen understanding of these issues and is not afraid of showing it. Dumbed down, knucklehead music this is not.

A powerful groove blasts along the next track "This Sinking Ship", which is another great example of the musical diversity at work here. Carnivores are capable of pulling together a huge number of influences and musical ideas, combining them into a set of interesting and diverse tracks. Angry gang vocals end the track, cries of ‘We’re going down!’ powering over a pounding final riff.

Final track on the album, fan favourite "Lion Tamer", will be recognised by all who’ve seen the band live. This is easily their most well-known track, and for good reason. All their musical elements come together, with a groovy opening riff and a bouncing rhythm section kicking off the track, before heavy breakdowns are brought in later on. Social and economic issues are under scrutiny here, with lyrics looking at the way the poorer areas of Glasgow are suffering. Angry political ranting has never been so catchy! The chorus is one of those fantastic sing-along moments that gets everyone moving at gigs, with a wall of bodies flying all over the place once the heavy breakdowns kick in later on in the track.

The final reprise is a full on continuation of the breakdown in "Lion Tamer", capturing all the energy of their live performance, rounding off an album which is a true reflection of Carnivores sound, capturing their musical ability in terms of both instrumental performance and Kenny’s keen ear for a hit!"