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Posted in Dust Of Rumour - reviews on 20/10/2010

Dust Of Rumour (5 Stars)

Stood standing preparing a hearty chicken casserole, for my sweet who's due home soon, on a bitter day in north Wales (yep, it's trying to snow again!), there's a CD playing on my lappy (laptop).

The music is as hearty as the smell wafting from the oven. I'm distracted (gladly) by this wonderfully sounding album by Marc Carroll.

I've just looked at the CD package, and I find that after the tracklisting it reads, 'Written and played by Marc Carroll'. That sounds impressive, but not quite accurate. There are 6 contributing musicians.

The album was released last year, but is still more than worthy of a mention now. On February 22, Carroll, belatedly in my opinion, released the single 'What's Left Of My Heart', and if picked up by music-centric stations, it could be a monster.

This amazingly talented Dublin-born singer-songwriter has all the qualities of say Bob Dylan and past masters from 60s/ 70s folk rock. Carroll first surfaced as a musician with Puppy Love Bomb and later with The Hormones. Neither did that well. Then, ten years ago he went solo, and his debut 'Ten Of Swords' was critically acclaimed by many in the music press.

The key to world music domination has always been a sharp emphasis on melody. Even Led Zeppelin et al had that knack of gripping you with great melodies, even if they occasionally went off at tangents. Oh, and even those rather famous four lads from Liverpool. They had it nailed.

Carroll's forte, in addition to said melody, are some truly spell-binding catchy tunes, many of which are radio-friendly.

Inevitably, due to his roots, there's a Celtic patina splattered across the 10 songs, but he still manages to retain enough indie sensibilities to attract the student brigade, much like the Saw Doctors and The Waterboys. This is the sort of album (no offence fellas) that the gals will absolutely love, but make no mistake, there's nothing sugar - coated here.

If you're a Byrds fan, with all those jangly guitars, then look no further than track 2, 'Now Or Never' with it's sweeping chorus and harmonies, enough to even impress The Byrds themselves.

The album opens with a thrusting riff and harmonies a la Crosby Stills Nash & Young, giving a nod to 60's classic country rock, boosted by twanging guitar licks.

'Against My Will' turns out to be a heartfelt song with sweeping string arrangements and wouldn't go amiss on a Christy Moore or Luka Bloom album, such is the quality.

He hits the Dylan-like button on the nasaled wanderings on the divine 'What's Left Of My Heart', the new single, with the jangly bits going into overdrive, laced with rolling Hammond organ.

'Illusion And I' opens with sweeping strings giving it a celestial feel while Carroll hushes cutely over the dream-like state, and it's quite a profound piece of music.

Once again, 'You Just Might Be...' is full-on Byrds but lacks a killer chorus.

There are two gorgeous short instrumentals - 'The Boy Who Dreamed' and 'Going Home', with later being a lament drenched with melancholic strings.

Closer, 'A Dark And Lucky Night' bookends a stunning album, ending like started, on an up-tempo rush of Celtic-tinged wizardry.

Carroll isn't just about creating good music though. Like many of his fellow countrymen, he's great with words. 'What's Left Of My Heart' is a classic example -" Stars descend and assemble and circle around her / Echoes of thunderous rage gently surrounds her / And sadly I, all I can do is stand aside / And bless the day I found her."

The verdict - Go buy..NOW!

Posted in Dust Of Rumour - reviews on 20/10/2010

Dust Of Rumour

(Critical Mob)

Though he released his very first solo single in 1989, it wasn't until 2002 that Irish singer-songwriter Marc Carroll finally unleashed his cult-favorite debut album,Ten of Swords, emerging as one of Ireland's secret weapons of power pop. Seven years down the line, the Dubliner's Dust of Rumour album is not without its share of sparkling power-pop moments, all frothy choruses and hook-laden melodies whose glow masks the melancholy of the lyrics. But the most notable thing about this outing might be its stylistic expansion. To wit, "What's Left Of My Heart" sounds like it could have come off a latter-day Bob Dylan album, while the moody, minor-key "Against My Will" bears a strong whiff of UK folk, and the guitar-centered instrumental "The Boy Who Dreamed" suggests a summit meeting between Durutti Column and Dif Juz. Sometimes the candy-colored realm of power-pop can end up being a musical cage, and Carroll should be commended for being able to reach outside of that sphere without abandoning it.

Posted in All Wrongs Reversed - reviews on 20/05/2011


Student 123

The Americans do the whole singer-songwriter bloke thing very differently to us. We have people like Tom McRae, Damien Rice and of course David Gray, all of whom make serious, thoughtful, acoustic music. Across the water they have Pete Yorn, Ben Kweller, Ben Harper and Jason Mraz, who make playful, intelligent but entertaining music. Well finally we have one of our own to add to the second list, in the form of Marc Carroll, Irish multi-instrumentalist and possibly genius.

All Wrongs Reversed is his second album, and it sounds like Mr. Carroll made himself a mix tape of his favourites, and then rewrote every song, passing them off as his own. So, we have some Beach Boys to kick off, with his love song to Brian Wilson: Mr Wilson. Then, there's something off REM's Monster album, If, something from Wilco's Mermaid Avenue, Nobody's Child, and the results of a serious Dylan fixation. He doesn't even bother rewriting those though, he just covers them, in this case Gates of Eden and Senor. (The single Crashpad Number has a cover of The times they are a changing as a b-side, in case that wasn't enough.) But there's more to Carroll than mimicry, and to keep things fresh there's the spiky two minute Patterns and Be what you are, both pop-punk gems with guitars well and truly plugged in and harmonies that the likes of Blink-182 would put their pants back on for.

All Wrongs Reversed is packed with immensely listenable and instantly likeable tunesmithery.

Posted in Dust Of Rumour - reviews on 20/10/2010

Dust Of Rumour

The Press, 4 Stars

JUST as last year was crammed to the CD racks with the solo female, maybe the plectrum is in the other digit. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Yusuf Islam’s newest release. Now here’s Marc Carroll, a rookie as opposed to Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, but possessing equal musical deftness. Carroll’s record displays even greater variety. All ten tracks are self-penned, he plays all the instruments and he commands every dubbed or freeform vocal with a breathy, yet weighty assurance. Previous Carroll albums have pricked the ears of no less than head Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Such patronage is not undeserved. Whether rattling through vibrant tracks like Love Will Rule Our Hearts and A Dark And Lucky Night, or in more ruminative mood on Now Or Never, complete with jangly Byrds guitar break, it’s no rumour – Carroll is a class act.

Posted in Dust Of Rumour - reviews on 20/05/2011

Dust Of Rumour

Last Broadcast

Being named checked by Bob Dylan is a long way from working the shop floor of British Home Stores, but this is the journey that Ireland-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Marc Carroll has undertaken over the past few years. 'Dust Of Rumour' follows two critically acclaimed albums. The album itself is a magpie collection that defies easy categorisation, for Carroll is an artist who isn’t afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve - and on this evidence he has a varied palette. The opener, 'Love Will Rule Our Hearts', sounds like a more muscular Thrills. 'Now Or Never' and 'You Just Might Be What I’ve Been Waiting For' possess the jangly guitar figures, sugar rush melody and sunny vocal harmonies of vintage Teenage Fanclub. With 'Dust Of Rumour', Carroll has produced a highly competent album.

Posted in Dust Of Rumour - reviews on 20/10/2010

Dust Of Rumour

The Crack

This Dubliner is now based in Los Angeles and there’s definitely a transatlantic feel to this, his fourth album, which is a wide-screen, melodious delight. This is basically timeless songwriting with the sunshine streaming through these tunes just like the first morning of your holiday. Those Irish roots are still allowed to break through too, calling to mind those other Celtic lovers of that West coast sound, Teenage Fanclub.

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