We all live inside the bubble of history. Everything we do has been done before. Waving hello, walking upright, chewing gum, flipping the pillow over to the cool side on a summer’s night… Hell, even love is older than the dirt covering the roots of the tallest redwood, but try telling someone not to fall in love. So, yeah, a few mates with guitars and some songs and something to say—that’s nothing new. But if it’s Carney… just go ahead and try not to fall in love. Best of luck to you.
Anyone can ape and mimic, but to conjure takes a kind of magic. Rock and roll is the very history of repetition, picking the past up and dusting it off, passing it off as your own. Carney makes no bones about the bands they love and loved, but these are not influences worn on sleeves, this is the work of careful craftsmen in tune with invisible muses. First single, “Love Me, Chase Me,” is a potion derived from extracts of Beatles, Doors, Zeppelin, and Hendrix, but the wisp of white smoke rising from that test-tube is some other element, newly discovered.
“It’s cinematic, it jumps around to different places, and in the span of five minutes, it sort of sums up what we’re capable of as a band,” says guitarist Zane Carney of the song. “We’ve always wanted someone to listen to our music and immediately feel like they’ve been transported to another place,” adds lead singer, Reeve Carney. “That’s what I love. I like having a cinematic approach to music. I prefer things that feel a bit imaginary.”
Fitting then that Reeve was handpicked by director Julie Taymor (Across the Universe) to portray Peter Parker in the upcoming Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. With music composed by U2’s Bono and The Edge, Spider-Man offered Reeve the kind of mentorship any young singer would cut a deal with the devil to get. “Reeve was everything we could have hoped for: an amazing voice and a truly charismatic presence,” says Bono. (That might be one of those things Reeve likes that “feels a bit imaginary,” but this is real.)
Along with drummer Jon Epcar and bassist Aiden Moore, Carney’s debut album Mr. Green: Vol. 1 is a kaleidoscopic summoning of music from multiple epochs and worlds beyond. Whether it’s the flirty Gallic cabaret of “Amelie,” the toy-store music-box lullaby that opens “Nothing Without You,” the waltzing velvety title track, or the 7-minute rafter-rattling blues epic “Testify,” Carney sounds nothing like a new band. This is a haunting, like a ghost sifted up through ancient floorboards. To even call them a “new artist” would betray the full-stride breadth of their abilities as songwriters and performers. They are happily, confidently, already ahead of themselves.
“I never like to stay in the same place for too long,” admits Reeve. “I always strive to do something I haven’t done before. In that way, this album is exactly what I’ve always wanted to make, but the next one will hopefully move in a whole different direction.” “I don’t want fame or glory,” adds Zane. “Making music is already such a gift. That’s what drives us. We know what moves us and we want to share it.”
Carney has built a big tent. All are invited. It’s a spectacle of infinite surprise. It’s imaginary. It’s real. It’s everything that rock and roll is supposed to be. It might just be the sound of that bubble of history bursting. Try not to fall in love.