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CARRIE Fear Of Sound

Obviously, it’s a case of too much Jerry Springer. Too many slightly boring-looking people who lead alarming double lives and, hey, would just love to tell you about it. Carrie’s debut album uses the same trick, hiding sleaze behind a musical mask and trying to get away with it.

‘Fear Of Sound’ has everything an above-average pop band could wish for: glossy choruses, shiny Beach Boys harmonies and politely rowdy guitars. Settling between the nerdiness of They Might Be Giants, the Pixies and, in Steve Ludwin’s Stipe-alike vocals, the distinct character of REM, everything appears harmless enough. Thankfully, it’s nowhere near as simple or boring. Opener ‘Molly’ sets the tone, regaling us with tales of a gender-bending girlfriend who likes Steve with shaven legs and a nice dress. But it gets stranger still, skipping over aliens, ghosts and near-death experiences, and arriving at the girl in ‘English Cox’ who harbours a dubious, fatal obsession with apples.

Without such seedy secrets, ‘Fear Of Sound’ would have only its tame Britpop-reared sheen to win us over. So you’re left wondering – as with the most outrageous chatshow revelations – where the stage-managing stops and the genuine weirdness begins.