Released on January 8th 2017, Nearly There is a thoughtful and reflective album by duo Carl Major and Nina Jelacic under the name Lacranin. Both artists live for music and in doing so have carried with them themes of 'life, love, loss, dreams and things beyond' which materialise across the 10 tracks featured on the album. The album features vocals from both Carl and Nina alongside guitar.
Nina and Carl contemplate life.
The perfect autumnal album
I chose the right season to listen to this album as it is the perfect accompaniment whilst watching the leaves blowing around in the wind. It is contemplative music without being depressing. It is intimate music without being barren. It is music for the soul.
1. First Quarter, Fourth Life 4:18 - The opening track has a good vibe and energy which sets the scene nicely. Inspired by the sound world of Led Zeppelin and with a positive message of new starts, it is a great opener. The chorus is strong but does become repetitive at times but this is probably due to the lack of drums which could have added an extra layer of energy.
2. Something Like That 3:05 - The heady bliss and uncertainty of a new relationship is the topic for the next track and this is represented by a foot tapping positive number. It is a nice simple song with a clear and direct message that we can all relate too. Occasionally the guitars are a little loud in the mix and the voice does get lost in traslation.
3. Sunset 4:30 - One of the oldest songs on the album and inspired by watching the sun go down across the shores of Ennerdale Water in England. The intro is lovely and has a slight Mike Oldfield vibe. I particularly like the dissonant chord which reappears and hints at the sadness that comes with leaving such a perfect location. Carl has a very distinctive voice which reminds me of bands from the Canterbury scene in its simplicity. This is a very enjoyable track with great vocal dialogue between the two.
4. Look At Me 6:20 - This is one of the longer tracks on the album and opens with a mournful chord progression which clearly sets the tone. There is a serious message in this song even though the language hints more at a medieval time. In someways we have not really evolved much beyond the concept of war and this song deals with the idea that we all need to be ready to protect those we love should the time come. This is a lovely song with great lyrics but I wish it had more instrumentation to really play up to the epic nature of the song.
5. Rosslare 5:14 - This song has a great little guitar riff and was written in the unlikely place of a railway station. The song deals with unchartered waters and going out into the world without a plan in the hope that the answers lie out there somewhere. The location of Rosslare in Ireland and its reputation as a lost soul on the edge of an island seems to be the perfect setting for this song.
6. Catch 2:50 - This song is all about taming a rebellious and dominant partner in a relationship. Whilst some people like the challenge, the message here is to proceed with caution. The vocal from Nina is strong here and she has a growl in her voice which emphasises the rebellious nature of the character. Again, this song would benefit from having drums to give a greater sense of energy and momentum.
7. Revelation 6:25 - It is fair to say that more than any other period in history we have the most pointless ‘stuff’. This song deals with the idea that we should focus more on what makes us happy and less about what we have. The song has a strong chorus with a good message and reminds me a little of Barclay James Harvest's song For No One.
8. Shadows Of My Heart 5:54 - Another strong guitar riff opens this song but the vocals are somewhat drowned out at times. The Alpha male is scrutinised here and we discover that underneath the tough guy exterior is in fact a commitment - phobic softy. This song ticks over nicely but is a little too long to maintain interest.
9. Beyond The Valley 2:52 - There is a very folky quality to this track with a nice lilting rhythm. It is nice to hear the two voices again in dialogue here and despite the jaunty nature to the music the lyrics deal with something much darker.
10. Don't Let Go 4:55 - It is only fitting to close the album with a gentle and somewhat sad song and this closing number neatly concludes the album. The theme of letting down a friend who has developed feelings beyond friendship is a difficult one but the lyrics and music handles this with sensitivity.
I really enjoyed this album and it kept my interest throughout. The performances are strong vocally but a little lacking at times in the range of guitar sounds and techniques. I enjoyed listening to all of the self contained stories and felt that they were all relatable which I feel makes for a successful album. At times the balance between voice and guitar was not so good and I felt a little more attention on the mixing would help. I also felt that additional instrumentation was needed, particularly in the longer songs. Carl did indicate to me that this album was rather embryonic so perhaps a newer version may emerge in the future with fully fleshed arrangements. The highlights on the album for me were the haunting guitar introduction to Sunset and the songs that featured both voices together.
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