By Ellen Eldridge
Not only is Carina Round one of the sexiest women to accompany Puscifer but also she sings sweetly like a bird while hypnotizing like a siren. “Pick Up the Phone” opens the new release, Tigermending, with a blend of gritty guitars and a sullen, sad cry echoing the title. Describing her singing as truly talented may sound trite or non-descriptive, but her range and solid vocal ability must have attracted the Puscifer crew to her and likewise. She proves her worthiness track by track as the band follows in-step – sometimes the music walks beside her and sometimes it walks backward as she walks forward, but it matches her every move like experts on a dance field.
This true reintroduction of Carina Round recalls memories of watching her live opening act before watching her live as part of Puscifer. I fell in love with her during her witty repertoire and cajoling comments about where the rest of the crowd was as she performed solo. When she strummed her guitar and sang both funny and sadly true songs I felt the distinct impression that the forthcoming release would be well worth the wait.
The high pitches mirrored by low tones in the chorus for “The Last Time” spirals the song past a radio-friendly pop song and into a more strange and chaotic world like that depicted on the album cover with Round’s face shaking into a blur. The torrent of feeling and passion stays in tune as Round’s voice never breaks or grates like some of the ‘90s grunge singers do in showing their edge. Her edge stays sharpened by the band as they dance on that line between story-telling folk and face-melting rock. The video for “The Last Time,” directed by Scott Rhea, takes listeners on a visual journey that showcases Carina Round’s true talent for entertaining. Again, the spiraling round-and-round themes appear captured on film as the room spins out of control. The central idea of “The Last Time” ties so cleanly to the opening track, where Round calls out for an answer on the phone because she’s “pregnant with your baby” that it begins to feel Tigermending may be a concept album. Even a quick scan of the song titles implies the same through “You and Me” and “You Will Be Loved” in the middle of the album to the closing tracks, “The Secret of Drowning” and “Simplicity Hurts.” One of my favorite aspects about the melancholy “The Secret of Drowning” is the double entrendre in the way she sings “I know the secret of drowning is to let go before you get lost” and echoes “you get lost” to give it the edge of telling a lover to get lost as she tells herself to peacefully accept the drowning. Stirring stuff in consideration that this idea of drowning recalls the opening “Pick Up the Phone” tying the album into its undeniable concept.
Despite how closely the individual tracks are tied and regardless of how personal Round’s lyrics are to her life, this collection of songs will attract listeners who find many points of reference to connect to. Round has released a truly inspiring collection of sweetly sad yet vibrant and impassioned songs.
Find Tigermending today on http://www.carinaround.com/