New Romance (Elefant)
Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., July 19, 2013
The CarrotsNew Romance (Elefant)
There's nothing more disappointing than digging out your dad's vinyl and falling in love with a group that's long since disbanded. Local sextet the Carrots has now rebooted this vicious cycle. Arriving five years after a series of retro-pop 7-inch previews, full-length debut New Romance also serves as the group's sparkling epilogue. The 12-song disc breezes through Fifties-grade bubblegum doo-wop, but it's set with enough hair spray to keep everything neat and crisp. There's nothing mystifying about the jocund, open anthems, including "Baby You Don't Know" and "Beverly," since the real intrigue of New Romance lies in the hook-laden choruses. Songs centralize on romance, but err toward heartbreak over bliss; the bah-bah refrain of "You Can't Promise (Boys)" flirts like French yé-yé pop only with the bite of a scorned lover, while "Crystal Lake" makes weak defenses of fidelity over a piano bassline and Gidget-worthy guitar solos. With all its lush instrumentation, New Romance closer "Baby's Unborn" is an elegant, minimalist lamentation. The Carrots' swan song has broken my heart all over again.