No one could rightly accuse Carina Round of playing it safe. Listen to her first two dark, defiant albums. Hear that voice—that whisper to a wail to a wallop of a voice. Yet chances are you haven't had the privilege—and that's the point. There's safety in obscurity, but with Slow Motion Addict, Carina Round is ready to tear it up into tiny pieces. "I had the chance to make a lot of self-indulgent music—I threw my toys out of my cot for ten years," Carina explains. "Now it's time to articulate what I want to say."
What Carina articulates on Slow Motion Addict will startle and unsettle you —push you to the edge. The insatiable leadoff track "Stolen Car," is all charged-up percussion and chimey guitar. The track, "How Many Times," is deceptively catchy puncture pop, a contrast to the atonal, chunky assault and battery of "Take The Money." Then, soon as you think you've got her pegged, Carina takes you to another plane—with the dreamy, naked, "Downslow," the weightless music-box ballet of "The City," the anthemic "big rock" sound of the first single "Come To You" and "January Heart," a contemplative, bittersweet, sneaks-up-on-you love song. "There's wide variety on this record," Carina says. "It starts out a bit quirky and light, then moves into something darker, more 'arty,' which are the two sides of my personality."
Expressing her personality through music has been Carina's goal since her English Midlands childhood. "At five years old I was singing into the mirror with a celery stick and the rest is history," she says with characteristic cheeky humor. Actually, the rest is hard work—beginning with gigs in Birmingham clubs, and recording her debut, The First Blood Mystery, which bowed when Carina was 22. By her second LP, The Disconnection, Carina was garnering reviews that likened her to Bjork, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple and Robert Plant, and touring with everyone from Coldplay to Ryan Adams to James Brown. She'd also caught the ear of Eurythmic-turned-mogul Dave Stewart, and while Carina was honing her stagecraft, Stewart was hooking up with Interscope's Jimmy Iovine to form the Weapons of Mass Entertainment imprint, signing Carina in due course.
For Slow Motion Addict — made in Los Angeles with Glen Ballard — Carina says, "It was important to grow up, stand up." That meant having the guts to embrace songwriting and recording in ways totally alien to her. "Doing this album has taught me how to make a record that is accessible but still...you know...good."
Carina's initial challenge was a lyrical one. "I was a teenager when I started writing music, I'd read a lot of Baudelaire, and for a long time, I felt that the only way to be taken seriously was if no one understood what the fuck you're saying!" she recalls. "Those are the strings I've had to detach myself from." The results? Literal, intense, starkly provocative and frankly fractious lyrics that tear back flesh to expose nerve. "I just set out to write what I feel, without constraints of, 'You're not allowed to say this,' or 'You don't want people to know that.'"
She also eschewed composing in a vacuum for collaboration and found it liberating. "I wrote with people from vastly different backgrounds, all different ages, so there was a massive scope of music to draw on," Carina says. "It's important to expand in these areas, not just as a songwriter but as a person." No surprise then that the songs on Slow Motion Addict are capable of moving you physically as well as emotionally. "I love to dance, to shake my ass on stage," Carina says. "I don't want people to leave the room wanting to slit their wrists."
The more Carina let loose and got real lyrically and musically, the more she unchained her voice, allowing her dusky, totally unique and elastic instrument to truly come into its own. "There was a lot of positivity around me on this record, giving me confidence, just making me feel free," she says. "I love doing weird things with my voice. It's like you're a cartoon and can turn yourself into anything."
And Carina Round has turned herself into a force to be reckoned with. She knows this and she's proud of it. "I'm standing on a rooftop naked, particles of me flying off into the air," she says with a hint of humor. "I'm on fire, and about to explode. I'm the 60-Foot Woman; I can walk through anything. I'm about to light up the world." She smiles. Obscure no more, Carina Round has arrived, ladies and gentlemen.