Karmella's Game: The Art of Distraction
One of the more unlikely local acts that has been packing íem in at local haunts such as the Talking Head for the past couple years is Karmellaís Game, a coed quartet that wear matching private school uniforms onstage while playing synth-driven power pop. Itís all very geeky--and more than a little emo--but Karmellaís Game is a tight and immensely enjoyable live band nonetheless. Singer/keyboardist KTO wrings high drama out of portamento keyboard riffs over big, blocky power-chord guitars, like the Rentals with the female backup singers placed front and center.
The bandís debut album, The Art of Distraction, was recorded in Nashville and New Jersey. And while it represents a definite step up in fidelity from their previous EP, 2003ís What He Doesnít Know Wonít Hurt Him, the production still falls a little flat, failing to capture the fist-pumping dynamics of the bandís live show. Once the hooks of songs like "Skip the Funeral" and "One Phone Call" bore into your brain, though, that wonít really matter, because the bandís soaring four-part harmonies are captured faithfully. "Cyberspace Lip Gloss" is the show-stopper, six minutes of proggy twists and turns that finishes big with gorgeous a cappella harmonies and a gooey slow-jam outro. Karmellaís Game may not be the next Rush, but the arena-rock ambition of its tunes is a welcome change of pace in Baltimoreís indie-rock watering holes.