Debut albums are a funny thing. No matter how many EPs, singles or demos come before them, a debut album is something that can make or break a band. Aberdeen’s Carson Wells are set to release their debut LP Wonderkid – and I mean LP, it’s only being released on vinyl – sometime soon. They’re not quite sure when. But before you go hassling those three friendly chaps for the release date... is it any good?
You’re damn right it is.
A half hour of pure brilliance, Wonderkid bursts into action with Soul & Sword, all spiky guitars and shouty vocals. Treading a fine line between emo and hardcore, but never really setting a foot down on either side, Carson Wells’ sound is distinctive and engaging, drawing the listener into their music. The opening track sets the scene for the record to follow and boy, what a record.
The ensuing tracks are all great. Really, really great. It seems pointless to write gushing descriptions of each one when all that’s needed is to say that Slim Charles, A Great Weight and Ten all perfectly showcase Carson Wells’ finely tuned sound. Wonderkid’s tight production really shows on these opening tracks, far surpassing that of its self-titled EP predecessor but never sounding overproduced in the slightest.
Killing Me Won’t Bring Back Your Goddamn Honey provides an intriguing mid-album quiet moment, eschewing the urgency of the preceding tracks and lulling the listener into a false serenity before the tremendous 3 Months in Canada kicks your face in with glee; the superb Don’t Forget the Super-8 comes next, its title providing sound cinematic advice as well as heralding a stunning track; and final duo 2007 and Home provide the perfect end to the album.
And then it’s all over too soon, leaving you wanting more as all the best albums do. And there’s nothing else to do but lift the needle right back to the start...
Wonderkid by Carson Wells is out on vinyl in the next month or so.
For the time being, you can stream the album on Bandcamp.