ep review: carnival

Written by Molly Tucker

Carnivals and rock n’ roll: two seemingly “outdated” means of entertainment that have claimed relevancy through singer and songwriter Briston Maroney.  In his new EP, entitled Carnival, Maroney strums slow and shreds fast in the diverse musical showcase with ballads like “Rose” and ditties like “I’ve Been Waiting”.

The 19-year-old released Carnival in mid-November of 2018, to the delight of his fans who held onto the dinner set sounds of his debut EP, Big Shot.  Unlike his first EP, however, Maroney reared his head as an up-and-coming rock n’ roll legacy when he released his first single from the album “Freakin’ Out on the Interstate” in March of 2018.  The fusion between indie/alternative and rock n’ roll gave Maroney a unique sound that gave way to the highly anticipated Carnival EP to come in the fall.  The 5 song record airs a nostalgic feel to listeners, constituting a self-made soundtrack for those who connect his lyrics to the good days of youth and risk-taking in both love and life.  

My first listen to the EP sent a sense of invigoration through my body; with the kind of liveliness that lends itself to good music, I inexplicably wanted to grab some of my closest friends and create memories that would live up to a soundtrack like Carnival.  The reminiscence of teen angst, anticipated romance, heartbreak, and adventure finds a perfect platform in the voice of Briston Maroney.

The slower groove of songs like “Rose”, “Hard to Tell”, and “Under My Skin” are characteristic of Maroney’s beginnings.  The soft acoustic melodies featured in the songs are played on Maroney’s coveted Gibson guitar handed down to him by his great-great grandfather, passed down from generation to generation.  His emotional attachment to his guitar and his music created a perfect foundation for such passionate pieces in his EP. Holding true to his indie roots, the trilogy of songs were a powerful way to pay tribute to his past, both in his career and in his life.

In contrast, the upbeat lick of both “I’ve Been Waiting” and “Freaking Out on the Interstate” embrace Maroney’s rock n’ roll identity. At the age of 15, he auditioned for American Idol by covering a classic Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.  This tie to Classic Rock was revived in the Carnival EP through Maroney’s own original music, paying homage to his humble beginnings and family love of such music.

The passion and talent evident within not only the EP, but in Briston Maroney as a musician and person, has allowed me to believe in a fruitful future and growing fan base for the young singer, with this EP powerfully adding fuel to his musical fire. I would highly recommend Carnival and Maroney as a whole to anyone interested in rock and alternative music. The genius use of guitar riffs, lyrical storytelling, and vocal range creates a hidden treasure in the EP, whereas those who truly immerse themselves in the music can find a home for their enjoyment and development.

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