Virginia-based Carbon Leaf has been around for a few years and, after having
honed their chops on the road, they recently signed a multi-album deal with
indie powerhouse label Vanguard. Their debut on the label is called Indian
Summer and is full of infectious jam-tinged pop/rock that the college kids
have been digging for the last few years. There’s even a Celtic vibe about these
guys that further aligns them with audiences that like to get their drink on.
“Life Less Ordinary” is a jangly opening track that effectively fuses the happy
pop of Barenaked Ladies with the alternative vibe of an Eve 6. “What About
Everything?” is an anthemic song that reminds me of the Clarks, another band in
the upper echelon of indie label bands. It’s downright criminal that stuff like
this never makes it to commercial radio. “This is My Song” has that Irish flavor
ala the Young Dubliners or Seven Nations. “Grey Sky Eyes” is a melodic gem, and
while I’ve never seen Carbon Leaf live, I can only imagine that “Raise the Roof”
is a raise-your-glass-and-drink-up singalong. “Paloma” reminds me of early
Vertical Horizon while “One Prairie Outpost” has a country flavor that might
make you want to set out on the open road with your windows open.
Carbon Leaf is one of those bands that have mass appeal, and while Indian
Summer is proof that they write really good songs, somehow I think their
live show must be even more fun and entertaining. Just a hunch. For now, those
of you with active imaginations can pick up the band’s Vanguard debut, close
your eyes and wave your lighter. Then pass me a beer.