Carbon Handshake are a group from Minneapolis who are ostensibly part of the post-rock scene. However, this term doesn’t really do them justice. They write complex, intricately arranged songs which deserve dedicated listening.
This creative group certainly defy pigeon-holing, so there is space for ‘Technicolor (Waste Our Days)’ and its full-on chamber folk-pop whilst ‘Circumstance’ is a terrific excursion into ambient rock and country territory. On ‘Kids Are On Their Own’ they also pursue a rock-ier approach, not unlike Arcade Fire in their pomp.
The second half of the record gives the impression of an extended suite or at least passages of music, seguing into each other. It’s an ambitious but worthwhile set of ideas with ‘The Horseman’ standing out in particular as it burns with a quiet intensity. Furthermore, whatever Carbon Handshake achieve from here they have made at least one really special song in the shape of ‘Synapse’. It’s another busy, multi-layered arrangement propelled by a simple but addictive sequence of stabbing keyboards but most impressive of all are the yearning vocals of Clancy Brady.
Not for this band the traditional verse-chorus format. Here are songs carefully arranged and intended to provide atmosphere and drama rather than go for obvious hooks. Better still, for all its craft and technical detail, ‘A Dive Right’ is a frequently warm and joyous record.
Carbon Handshake Bandcamp
Arcade Fire, Silicon Ballet