September 26, 2005

Caroline "Where's My Love?"

If you have a Myspace account, then you'll know how frustrating it is to be friended by bands you've never heard of. Though meant as a friendly gesture--and as a way to get their music heard--it can be quite annoying. Personally, I very rarely check out a band I've never heard of that friends me, partially becaus I don't have the time, but usually simply because I prefer to hear a real record. My cynicism is not uncommon; when approached by Caroline Lufkin, the folks at Temporary Residence were about as indifferent as you'd expect...until they actually listened to her music. That they overwhelmingly responded to her music with a "sign her NOW" attitude is quite understandable.

Though her debut record, Where's My Love, is a mere CD-single, it's a record that instantly leaves you breathless. The title song is a quiet, pretty pop song, built upon a beautiful electronica foundation, layered with simple, gentle beats, beautiful piano and some rather touching wind chimes. It's minimalist, to say the least, but when you have an overwhelmingly pretty singing voice like Caroline's, you really don't need a fancy accompaniment. Her childlike voice only accentuates the extremely innocent lyrics, words that might otherwise sound painfully trite: "Where's my love?/Don't hide from me/I'll be good to you , I will, honestly/Oh, love, come to me." That she sings them with the sincerity of Dorothy singing about places somewhere over the rainbow only adds to the song's simple charm.

The other two songs are good, but not quite as essential. The remixed version of the title track removes her vocals and expands on the instrumental backing, throwing beats together with gamelan and some vocal manipulation. As you'd expect, it sounds quite beautiful, and instead of looking at it as a remix, one should consider it a fascinating reprise of the lovely song it follows. "Time Swells" is also pretty, following the same formula, but it's not quite as captivating. It's a bit more generic sounding, not unlike the work of Lali Puna or any other member of the Morr Music family. It's still pretty, but it's definitely not quite in the same league as the title song.

Where's My Love is a gorgeously beautiful little pill, even if it is criminally brief. Here's to the future for this young and quite promising young woman. Her talent is obvious, and anything she does in the future is to be anticipated with baited breath. My first reaction to this song was, "OH MY GOD, CHECK THIS OUT NOW!" and I think you'll feel the same way, too. Too bad this wasn't a full length, because we're looking at a contender for one of the year's best debuts.

--Joseph Kyle

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