Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this review, I’m going to be tackling a selection of songs from the band Carrier 21’s new record, ‘In the Cloud.’ The pop-rock threesome from Antwerp, Belgium, is producing some of the tightest, most intriguing pop music in the indie scene. Consisting of the irresistible lead vocalist, Stefanie Schaekers, guitarist Pieter Truyens, and keys/electronics musician Luc Dooms, Carrier 21 is a compelling effort that blends a series of influences into a rather unique sound.
Right off the bat, Carrier 21 hits you with ‘Last Thing for Summer,’ an infectious dance number akin to New Order or the like. It has a retro vibe, but the band flirts with plenty of contemporary musings that keep their sound consistently interesting. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this is ‘One Step Ahead,’ a superbly produced, sharply performed tune.
Though the two men backing her create mystifying soundscapes that certainly contribute immensely to Carrier 21’s successful sound, lead vocalist Stefanie Schaekers makes the band. She’s attention demanding, and steals the stage (and your heart) on tracks like ‘True Love,’ a haunting ballad. In fact, that track is actually the strongest of the songs I spent time with. My goodness, it could accompany a James Bond intro sequence; it’s cinematic and epic.
There are times, however, when the two instrumentalists take the reigns to craft something peculiar and rewarding. There isn’t a better example of that than ‘Breakfast Time,’ an experimental piece that seems to culminate all of the trio’s talent into one sonic space. It’s amazing how much sound there is in that space, too. For three people, they sound more like ten.
I ended up spending well over an hour listening to tracks from ‘In the Cloud,’ It’s a beautiful record with impressive production and performances. I adore the nature of Schaefer's delivery on the songs and I couldn’t get enough of the instrumentation. This is a special group certainly worth keeping tabs on. Their music is fresh and inventive.