REVIEW: Carl Broemel – “4th of July”

Carl Broemel
4th of July
Stocks in Asia Records

4th of July feels like an auditory dreamscape. It’s ambient and relaxed, and somehow the climaxes feel like their dream equivalent. You know the part of your dream where you always wake up and then try to fall back asleep to keep it going? Like you just got offered the job of playing guitar for My Morning Jacket, then you woke up and you’re late for work. Some of the album is just like that.

Broemel starts the album off strong and upbeat with “Sleepy Lagoon” and the title track “4th of July.” If you are listening to this album for a My Morning Jacket feel these songs are about as close as you will get. The guitar work and the tone of the guitar are definitely similar, but the songwriting and vocals are far enough away that you will never get these tracks confused with MMJ. Carl has a smooth laissez faire sort of approach to his vocals and his songwriting. It’s reminiscent of great 90’s grunge, although it’s much more polished.

“4th of July” is a rocking track that’s definitely worthy of being the title of the album. It’s a summer jam that makes you want to sit by your pool and drink a few brews. The song goes back in forth from dreamy quiet landscapes to straight forward rock without ever missing a step.

The rest of the album is much more laid back, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. It feels as if you’re floating in the cosmos, surrounded by guitar licks that look like shooting stars. It’s an album that floats and never lands, almost the same way as Ziggy Stardust, but with a much softer approach. I particularly enjoyed “Crawlspace” which is a jazzy instrumental that’s reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi Trio if you can imagine that.

4th of July is definitely worth a listen, just don’t go into it expecting the thrilling energy of an MMJ album. Carl Broemel was aiming for something else entirely and he hit the mark. It’s up to you to allow those vibes to take you into celestial spaces.