Album Review: Carousel Kings - Plus Ultra
Carousel Kings broke through in 2017 with Charm City, their 4th album overall and debut with Victory Records, giving us their brand of pop-punk that relies on catchiness, innovative hooks, and a fresh, modern-kissed take on what’s been done before. Plus Ultra, their follow-up album still plays off all those same ideals, but with 10 of the 11 tracks having a guest star on them, it has a different, more individual feel from song to song which leaves no two of them sounding identical. The closest song resembling their past efforts comes with the opening track “Plus Ultra” as the catchy pop punker offers plenty of moments to raise yours arms above your head and wave them side to side, a bop along with melody, and guitar riffs that make you want to jump. But that’s where the exact comparisons end as the individuality takes over each song from there: the guitar licks shine on “Code Breaker (Smile),” a quirky, almost 311ish feel appears on “Shellshocked,” the punk rock charge of “Ghost” gives way to a big chorus that instantly has you singing along, and “Great White Buffalo,” the lone slower paced track on the album allows room for the lyrics to shine as they give us a relatable lost love ballad. As with most good bands, you need to expect growth from album to album and the Carousel Kings have absolutely done that. They’ve taken the pop-punk driven sound we’ve known from their previous releases, fused in more rock-edged elements, and then allowed their guest stars to individually shine to give Plus Ultra a feel that it may not have otherwise had. Although this album does take us an adventure all over the place, it still somehow sounds exactly like what you’d want from Carousel Kings as they press forward and forge out their own creative path among a crowded scene.