2000: The Stereo Society SS005

  1. Carnival
  2. Millennium Man
  3. Jungle Jane
  4. Wishing Well
  5. Pins and Needles
  6. Heartache
  7. Carnival Revisited

     (unlisted tracks)

  8. One of Us
  9. Silence
  10. Monster in the Box
  11. Carnival Revisited, Pt 2

Well! What a cheerful little album. If it weren’t for the just-TOO-yummy “Millennium Man” (with its slick mix of French and English), I’d say this makes Joni Mitchell’s Turbulent Indigo sound like Free to Be…You and Me. It’s dark, dark, dark….

There’s a lot of good work here, but it is extremely depressing material. “Wishing Well,” for example, wallows unenjoyably and heavily in its sadness but manages to strut out a fine chorus of possibly disingenuous forgiveness. And they gave “Jungle Jane” a much better treatment four years later on BETTY RULES, with more power and a seemingly unleashed Alyson Palmer storming right on to the finish.

I didn’t decide to get this album until Summer of 2006, when I heard BETTY RULES and discovered to my intense joy that the girls had finally gotten the formula exactly right; in theory, this arrival justifies all of the steps they took to get there, so I finally got this album, BETTY3, and Snowbiz to see how they’d fared since I declined to buy Carnival when it came out. Exactly what had led me to make that choice, I don’t recall now, but I think it was an audio clip of part of one of these tracks (I have no idea which, now) which I listened to and simply didn’t like. What I heard was the more of Limboland’s overproduction and bombast and the harmonies still not fixed, and I still do now. But it’s an interesting album in its own way, and “Millenium Man” truly is great fun.