In 2008 alternative rockers Carolina Liar gained national recognition with their first album, Coming To Terms. Their single, “Show Me What I’m Looking For,” has been heard from American Idol to Celebrity Rehab with a half dozen commercials in between. After three years, Carolina Liar has returned to the studio to create their sophomore album, Wild Blessed Freedom.
Freedom is full of energy, fusing alternative rock and electronic pop, topped with emotional lyrics. This audible melding can be related to the band members themselves. While singer and guitarist Chad Wolf hails from South Carolina, Rickard Göransson (guitar), Johan Carlsson (keys), Peter Karlsson (rhythm) come from Sweden. The album was also partially produced in Sweden and by Swedish pop icon, Max Martin. The European influence can definitely be heard throughout the album, setting Carolina Liar apart from other alternative bands.
The track “Daddy’s Little Girl” is a perfect example of how the bands European roots add a different style to the band. The song has all the elements of a dance club anthem including generic backing female vocals, a synthesizer-like solo, and the lyrics, “Daddy’s little girl is dirty on the floor, she’s dancing.” “Daddy’s Little Girl” was unexpected from a band stuck with the alternative label. It’s certainly a risky move, but I applaud Carolina Liar for showing versatility in their style and abilities.
At total opposite end of the spectrum is “Beautiful People,” which is one of the few slow songs on the album. Carlsson’s keys in the intro are reminiscent of a funeral tune as Wolf sings, “It’s my last big breath, what you want me to do?” Obviously the subject matter of the song isn’t as cheery as the title might lead you to believe. “Beautiful People” highlights the raw emotion of Wolf’s voice.
Wolf also has an impressive octave range and isn’t afraid to belt out the falsettos when needed, like in “No More Secrets.” Wolf sings, “I’ve been wrong so many times it feels like home, but I burned it to the ground. No more secrets.” This is just one instance of recurring fire imagery on this album. In “King of Broken Hearts,” we hear a similar line: “I built this house just to burn it down; from the ashes I shall wear a crown.” The albums fire imagery is about rebirth, starting anew from the ashes like the mythical phoenix. With the album’s first single, “Drown” already being used in promos, Wild Blessed Freedom is sure to soar.
Ashley Musgrave; Columbus Wired