Pebaluna – Carny Life
Telling a story with music is about taking the listener on a journey. It’s more then just lyrics though. In the end it comes down to emotion and the way the music makes a person feel. Does it breathe excitement or sorrow into their soul? Can it move them to dance or change their life? When it comes to Pebaluna’s album Carny Life, the answer is a profound “Yes!” The music exudes feelings and passion through every song as Lauren Coleman and Matt Embree tell a musical story.
Pebaluna consist of Coleman and Embree along with Jessica Lankford and Jonathan Grillo. The “collective” hails from Long Beach, CA. Together they create magic with an album that embodies folk, funk, country, jazz, and everything in between. Coleman’s voice mesmerizes and haunts the soul simultaneously.
Carny Life starts with “All Falling Down,” easily the stand out track on the album. Playing on words from the classic children’s nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie,” the song starts off with funky jazz chords and Coleman’s vocals exude sultry seduction. Through the song, tempo and time changes take the listener through a journey. The beat rolls along with a natural feel allowing the song to unfold as a beautiful piece of art.
To follow up the skillful song writing from the first track, the album flows directly into “No, I Can’t.” It begins simply with snapping and Coleman’s voice. Slowly the instruments begin to join the rolling song. Everything about this track feels familiar but new at the same time. After the first chorus the bass line enters adding an entirely new dimension and depth to the song. If there is one thing Pebaluna does with grace, it’s allowing their songs to develop organically, with multiple layers and emotions at their core.
With a change of pace, the album’s title track demonstrates a pop/country feel. It’s reminiscent of an old fashion sitcom theme song. Sweet and upbeat, simple whistling gives the song a good wholesome feel.
Continuing with the country atmosphere, the album rolls directly into the slow and sorrowful “Baby What’s Wrong.” Coleman and Embree harmonize to give an eerie but enchanting texture. Immediately afterwards the honky-tonk fast paced song “Honey” brings a sense of an old-fashioned kick ass rodeo cowgirl. The track includes a fiddle, which adds to the whiskey drinking, “Devil Went Down To Georgia” impression.
But if the listener thought Pebaluna was done with genre changes after jazz, pop, and country, they were wrong. While still feeling cohesive with the rest of the album, “Hopeless” embodies old school Motown. With blaring horns, it is fast, upbeat and funky. Coleman’s ability to stretch her vocal styles across all of these genres is purely amazing.
“Siren Song” starts with a catchy beat on the bongos. The song lives up to hits name and will entrance the listener. Immediately after, the album finishes with what could only be described as island surf rock. “Sunshine Lullaby” is the perfect cap to an album that has taken a journey and brought you to its glorious end.
One of the most amazing things about Pebaluna is their ability to use the instruments to shape the song. With their focus on many different sounds created by varying acoustic instruments, the tracks breathe their own life. Carny Life is spectacular and uses all of its time developing new ways to amaze and mesmerize the listener.
Wordkrapht Rating: 5 Stars
Album: Carny Life
Release Date: September, 2012
Genre: singer/songwriter, folk, country, funk
Location: Long Beach, CA
Members: Lauren Coleman, Matt Embree, Jessica Lankford, Jonathan Grillo