Reviews Zone

Carnival Club: Magdalena’s Cape EP (Demolition Diner Records) 12th May




4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)




We are well ahead of the pack on this one and really excited about this new band……………….Four young Manchester guys, late-teenage and early 20-somethings who’ve got it going on in a big way. Music Republic Magazine tip for big success. 

Their debut physical release, a five track EP; the mysteriously titled “Magdalena’s Cape”, drops in May. Literally still warm from the pressing plant when we got our hands on a copy.

Kai, George, Eddie and Joe make a whopping big sound for a four-piece. Call them an indie band. Call them a guitar band. Call them what you want; they will not hear you over those blistering guitars, bass, drums, buzzing amps and that solar plexus prodding vocal.

Together circa only nine months or so, the soon-to-be famous four are guitarist Eddie Moxon, bassist George Peel, drummer Joe Lodge and vocalist/guitarist Kai Jon Roberts. They have built up a decent profile in their city, opening for the biggest local bands and they played their first headline gig at the beginning of February this year, packed the venue and blew the roof off. The word is out.

Last year, after only five months of gigging since they formed, they dropped a handful of tracks on-line. “Kisses” and “Head” were more indie pop than the louder, more aggressive rockier stuff they do now.

Today, Carnival Club are what Led Zeppelin would sound like if they recruited Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys as front man, and he had singing lessons from Lemmy Kilminster. They’ll inevitably be compared to the Madchester crowd and the likes of Oasis, The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets and the Stone Roses. Not a reference I’ll make here. But they do share the same levels of power, attitude and energy as those cool cats possessed. They too create an exciting, spine tingling noise. A case of “fuck you all; we do this and we do it well and we will do it even if you think it’s shit.”

One guy who most certainly didn’t think they were shit is Bristol-businessman Michael Darby. When the tour manager for the Stone Roses introduced him to Carnival Club’s music, he was so blown away by what he heard, he set up a record label to bring out their five-track debut. Thank you Mr Darby. Not sure if he is a gambling man, but for me, it is a dead cert bet that these boys will do very, very well with the right wind behind them, and this record is likely to become a sought-after and valuable collectors’ piece.

The set produced and engineered by Kev Carroll who deserves credit, for not polishing off the rough edges and for keeping their ‘rawness’ intact. All five songs penned by the band. It’s a killer calling card and a declaration of war. Not so much a band, as a weapon. Let battle commence! The opener “House Of Cards” is a winning hand. See what I did there? A re-worked song from their digital release last September. A shrewd move not to let this one get away. Strongest cut of the five.

A ball-booting, heavy, mean and moody rocker; the bass and kick drum lock in tight, while the wall of grunged-up guitars poke and jab. Kai howls and moans on the lead vocal; on a song that is a clever mix of modern day indie and hard rock where you cannot see the join.  You can easily visualise this lot strutting across a big stadium or arena stage and leaving jaws wide open and gobs well and truly smacked in their wake. This is not a band who are likely to be stuck playing pubs and clubs for too long. The right support slot to the right big name band for a major tour and they could crack it.  

Next up; “Mistakes, Troubles And Kisses”, gives nods to the likes of Simple Minds and U2 with the powerful guitar track, but a far more urgent and younger vocal. “You’re So Hostile,” sits on busy hi hats, pumping bottom end bass line and fragile guitar riffs. A haunting vocal and the whole thing takes me back to New Order and Blue Monday era. It builds in intensity, adding strings towards the end of the track to add atmosphere. The guitars build to a crescendo, and the aching vocal sits on top. A four minute and 37 second slice of …………… (you can fill in the missing word yourself when you hear it.) Note: The very first time I’ve heard the lyric “tonic and gin” in a song.

The penultimate and title track. “Magdalena’s Cape” offers up a swirling 1960s ethereal, psychedelic vibes, with lashings of reverb on the vocal and heavy phasing across the speakers. Channelling the likes of Moby Grape. A pleasant break from the relentless power and volume of the rockin’ stuff, to provide some light and shade among the five cuts. The closer “Headache” nails a groove and puts the boys right back in your grill on another very strong cut.

There’s another young band out there right now who I tipped for big things and was first to cover in a national magazine. Doing very well and will blast into orbit when their debut album comes out later this year. They are from Birmingham, and they call themselves Broken Witt Rebels. Their frontman Danny Core really is a stunning singer. I can now say that Carnival Club will give the Brummies a good run for their money. On record Carnival Club leap out of the grooves and make you listen. I also hear that live on stage they’ll tear your spleen out. Having seen their YouTube stuff from various gigs, I can believe that and relish the day I can get to see them live.

They’ve got heaps of swagger, and if there is any arrogance, they definitely have something to back it up with. When this EP gets spread around and radio picks up on it, there’ll not be a buzz about this band, but rather a bloody big sonic bang!


 By Simon Redley



1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’




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