Carnival is the latest from Kasey Chambers, and fortunately it’s not about her childhood memories of freaky carnies and greasy corndogs. Country through and through, Chambers grew up in Australia’s vast outback and cut her musical teeth learning acoustic guitar around the campfire from her mom and pop. Despite receiving props from both alt-country goddess Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle, Chambers has so far remained an unknown outside of Australia.
Carnival is her most mainstream album to date, but Chambers is still a country girl and isn’t afraid to show it. With the exception of the country-rock track “I got you now,” the laid-back style revolves around Chambers’ vocals. Fortunately, she proves she is more than up to the task, delivering strong vocals and doing a great job singin’ about livin’ and cryin’. Chambers changes up her vocals throughout the album and keeps things interesting, but her faux-innocent-young-girl-voice can wear thin at times.
Even though Carnival could be called Chambers’ “sell-out” album, it’s still full of heartfelt songs and that ol’ country soul that makes it great.