The first thing anyone who picks up Carson’s self-titled EP will notice is the striking vocal similarity between frontwoman Taisha Bethea and Hayley Williams of Paramore. Many artists out there attempt to put a Hayley Williams clone at the front of their band, but fail when they try to do so.
What makes Carson’s situation different? The fact that Bethea has an equal amount of talent with an equally impressive voice to that of Williams says everything. If Bethea is merely a clone, then she is an almost exact replication- and it is very possible that she just might surpass the master one of these days.
Carson’s EP has both the musical and vocal intensity and the passion that Paramore’s All We know is Falling has, but with a bit of a twist. The EP has an overall heavier feel to it, with a decent amount of ambient guitar work similar to Thrice. The sound overall isn’t quite perfected, however. The band seems to still be trying to find themselves, so the EP does jump around in musical styles, not staying completely consistent.
That’s not to say that a band can’t have a variation in style, but most successful bands have a sort of trademarked style, which Carson still seems to be finding. The first two tracks, “Moving Forward” and “No Sleep November” quite honestly sound like a replication of All We Know is Falling, and not just a mere influence. They sound good, but lack a certain originality.
With that being said, certain moments not only shine through, but compensate for the some of the more lackluster elements of the EP.
One of these brilliant moments can be found in “Resilience,” which seems to show exactly what the band is capable of. The song starts with an attention-catching intro that features Thrice-esque guitars and intense drums. The song has a very melodic feel to it, giving it a sound that puts all Paramore stereotypes (except how alike Bethea sounds to Williams) behind them. As far as one trademarked sound, this seems as though it could work very easily for the band, and might just be the direction to move in for the future. This track has an overall passion and intensity to it that is worth noting, and that alone makes this EP worth paying attention to.
At their best, Carson sounds like a melodic and passionate band with similarities to Paramore pre-selling themselves to the corporate machine. At their worst, the band could fall into the horrible trap of being labeled a Paramore cliche. Time will tell, but if the band moves forward in the elements that make them original and unique, they could be a band worth watching. Overall, the EP is a great first effort from a band with potential.