It takes a special artist to capture the uplifting spirit of an entire season in one collection of songs, and an even better one to send listeners from the unforgiving cold of winter to the pleasant warmth of summer in an instant. With her inaugural full length, Greta Morgan, aka Springtime Carnivore, manages to defy the elements and summon the carefree soul of summertime on her debut masterpiece with flashy synths, uplifting vocals, and danceable beats.
Springtime Carnivore takes an unconventional route with an electronic flair on the self-titled album, trading musical austerity for a heavy focus on Morgan’s ghostly voice. Much of the instrumentation is simple with only subtle embellishment, allowing the vocals to soar.
Even though instrumentation is not the obvious focus of Morgan’s music, it is equally responsible for creating the undeniably contagious feel of the record. The synths establish a shimmering tone, the guitars respond with beautiful, animated reverb, and the drums brighten up the mood with catchy, rhythmic beats to unite the music.
Springtime Carnivore has its share of everything. From melodious singles like “Sun Went Black,” to stunning, intricate instrumentals like “Karen Bird’s Theme,” the album covers a range of genres.
However, the pieces still fit wonderfully together to frame Morgan’s seamless tour de force.
While many of the songs differ in regards to tempo and type, one thing always stays the same: Morgan’s alluring vocals. At times stylistically distorted, at others clean and pure, Morgan’s voice consistently carries the music from track to track.
“Two Scars” throws distortion on Morgan’s haunting melody, adding to the dreamy tone of the song. The song relies heavily on her commanding vocals, placing the entire wall of instrumentals behind her echoed crooning. On the opposite side of the spectrum is “Other Side Of The Boundary,” the only song to feature solely guitar and vocals. This track is Morgan’s most powerful performance, featuring clean vocals and an exploration of her vast range; both show her immense talent and ability to adjust her style depending on the mood of the song.
Lyrically, Morgan is heartfelt, honest, and at times quirky in her approach. Her true power comes out in the melancholy ballads where she sheds her skin and opens up. It’s apparent from her words that she’s an emotional intellectual who’s got a lot to say. Lines in tracks like “Other Side Of The Boundary” offer insight to her sense of alienation as she sings, “I’m a raven, just a raven, waiting for the black night to fade in/I will finally blend in, disappear for a while,” while she counters with more uplifting lyrics in songs like “Collectors.”
She’s all over the place in a beautiful way, writing what she feels and holding nothing back, whether it’s sadness, joy, or somewhere in between.
Morgan’s vocal prominence on the record is paired perfectly with the instrumentals, which often take the backseat, but shape the tones of the songs. Summer anthem “Name On A Matchbook” would be nowhere without jovial synths, essential tambourine, and infectious whistling. Bouncy guitars and a wall of synths dance over a simple drum beat, shining as the musicians have one of their few solos on the record. The track carries the nostalgia of a sunny road trip back home, and immediately incites a contagious feeling of joy.
Another crucial element of Springtime Carnivore is the instrumental tracks at the beginning, middle, and end of the album. “Low Clouds” wins in capturing the spirit of the mellow ending to the record. The finale closes with a serene feeling of resolution and a slight sense of apprehension. It’s an unorthodox way to end such a positive album, but feels fitting when it’s grouped in with the rest of the tracks.
It’s hard to find any issues with Springtime Carnivore—a rarity; not only does the album display quality musicianship, fantastic singing, and original songwriting, but it’s also a diverse, genre-spanning magnum opus for the band and the entire scene.
Springtime Carnivore – Springtime Carnivore tracklist:
- “Western Pink”
- “Name On A Matchbook”
- “Sun Went Black”
- “Foxtrot Freak (Something In The Atmosphere)”
- “Other Side Of The Boundary”
- “Karen’s Bird Theme”
- “Keep Confessing”
- “Last One To Know”
- “Two Scars”
- “Talk To Me Slow”
- “Creature Feature”
- “Find A New Game”
- “Low Clouds”