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Music Review: Carnival Season – ‘Misguided Promise: Carnival Season Complete (1984-89)’

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As a music collector you often spend some time looking over “lost” bands that never got the attention they deserved, and thanks to the Internet, nothing is really lost anymore. Through a connection with guitarist Tommy Keene, I came across this obscure ’80s power pop band from Birmingham, Alabama called Carnival Season that toured with The Replacements and Redd Kross. Made up of guitarist Tim Boykin, bassist Brad Quinn, and drummer Mark Reynolds, Keene helped out on their one and only LP Waiting for No One (even playing on a few tracks). Alas, they broke up just as the Seattle grunge scene emerged.

61la8eR8eUL._SL500_AA280_Because Carnival Season was more of a regional band, it rarely got airplay north of the Dixie. They certainly deserved more recognition than as mere footnote in power pop history, as Misguided Promise: Carnival Season Complete (1984-89) gathers up the band’s entire output in one neat package. While early tracks like “Waiting for No One” and “Seems Alright” would’ve been at home next to my collection of late ’80s power pop, Replacements fans will love the heavier “All Night” and “Black Velvet Elvis.” They sounded impressively tight on the complex “Potential Crime,” a song rumored to be recorded in one long five-minute take. The driving riffs and steady rhythms will bring you back to the era and although nothing here is revolutionary, there is plenty to sift through, including demos and live tracks.

Although the band toured the West Coast after their debut LP released, without commercial success they split up in 1989. Tim Boykin went on to play with the Shame Idols and the Lolas, while Quinn toured and recorded with Keene on his solo records. In the fall of 2007, Carnival Season reunited to play at the local Alabama club where they started out. In 2012, Reynolds passed away.

Fans of Let’s Active, The Windbreakers, and The Lemonheads will enjoy this newly found treasure. You can get this album at Amazon.

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About The Power Popaholic

The Power Popaholic (aka Aaron Kupferberg) is a music blogger that focuses on the genre of power pop and melodic rock. I also report on live shows, tour dates, gossip, MP3′s, videos and just about anything a power pop fan could want. Reviews have been featured in The Rock and Roll Report, The Christian Science Monitor, Virgin Top Music Blogs and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. To read past reviews visit www.powerpopaholic.com