Back in 2009, this is what I wrote about Paul Steel’s debut album, Moon Rock.
“Favouring dense instrumentation and arrangements, melodic hooks galore, whimsical moments and trainspotting references, Moon Rock is one of those albums that true pop enthusiasts will obsess over for weeks on repeat mode, headphones on, salivating over every nuance.”
Incredibly, Steel’s sophomore effort – Carousel Kites – ups the ante, applying a widescreen cinematic approach to his textural pop style.
The Jellyfish references are still there but Steel has gone deeper into a baroque pop style that is in turn influenced by the likes of XTC, Cardinal, The High Llamas and Eric Matthews.
Almost a decade in the making, there is so much to savour on Carousel Skies, that it thoroughly deserves closer inspection.
Suffice to say, the melodic sophistication and orchestral arrangements are enough to impress if not also for the fact that classic pop affectations will also enthral fans of pop power!
In the latter aspect, songs like “Do What Everybody Does”, “Skydaddy” and “Yeti Rawk” are tracks that one can only listen on in gaping mouth awe and consider if some kind of genuine future pop is being beheld.
“Island in the Sky” even channels Steely Dan effortlessly and one throws up one’s hands in surrender (and worship) of Steel’s immeasurable talents. Wow indeed.
I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say here. Even for diehard power pop lovers, Carousel Kites is not an album for the faint of heart but a challenge for enthusiasts of pop music in its catholic 60s/70s forms.
Fifteen songs of the highest quality that run through one to another in an astonishing display of pop prowess – PoP heaven, in other words!
… still there’s more …