Since Carpool’s 2020 release of Erotic Nightmare Summer, the Rochester band has played on Audiotree, added a synth player, toured the country, worked with content creator, hate5six, and yelled “quit a job and fuck every single cop” wherever they went. That’s quite a streak for the underdog emo act, nicknamed Carpy for short.
Carpool also became experts on saltines, see tour announcement for more information.
The group’s emo-rollercoaster-rock sound oscillates between sugary indie-rock, walloping pop-punk, and derailing math pop fluidity. The moshpit-fuse band throw their weight behind important messages, whether they are handing out police abolition zines or approaching tough lyrical topics like substance abuse, mental health and failing relationships.
Their latest work, a five song EP titled For Nasal Use Only, challenges listeners while expanding upon their familiar sound. More danceable than ever, Carpool inject their gravely relatable tunes with upbeat synth ebullience.
The lead single and intro track, “Anime Flashbacks,” is the cathartic theme music for being heinously jolted awake by lurid dreams of your past. As the catchy, singalong chorus springs forward, metamorphic synth lines lope even further ahead, effectively putting the pop in emo-pop.
The equally anthemic, more manic follow-up, “Quitting,” is Carpool’s power-pop-punk collision at its best. Excited gang vocals warm up the tune, while the high-octane verses incentivize a jump-around-your-room energy. The payoff fist-pumping chorus is a dive-bar favorite, perfect for shouting amongst friends. Soon after, the band careens off the road as wonky synths wriggle within the chaotic second verse.
Homesick for the turbulent yet hooky emo-pop-rock that made Erotic Nightmare Summer so exciting? Get picked up by “Tommy’s Car,” a song that champions the group’s quintessential style found in their infectious debut. The song writhes from one volatile section to the next, mirroring the overwrought lyrics. The band explain how despite the song’s “overarching feeling of dread,” it is truly about “finding solace in friendships and love while navigating the dreadful parts of existence.” The music video, mainly produced by longtime Carpy friend, Kevin Flanagan, perpetuates this theme. The piece showcases Carpool’s Audiotree visit and their smile-sharing performances in venues throughout Western, NY.
The eye-opening “Discretion of Possession (A Love Song),” a left-turn into breezy acoustic pop, is slathered in an irresistible glaze of optimism.
Saccharine falsetto, a wordless hook, and a frolicking whistle melody round out the track, not complete without a self-referential callback to Carpool’s biggest hit thus far, a standout bubblegrunge heater titled “The Salty Song (Erotic Nightmare Summer).” Crack a smile and a beer open with this celebratory track, it might be a grower. This beamy in-studio creation shows range for the group, as the creation sprouted from an impromptu session between Colosanto and producer RJ DeMarco. The group gives credit to DeMarco for forming the EP’s potent sound, one that is sleek and professional, yet sticks to their dirty DIY roots.
The storytelling closer, “Everyone’s Happy (Talk My Shit),” sends the album off in cinematic fashion. Zeroed lyrics like “Missed the casting call, mid 20s fuck up, and all your friends moved on, full time, married or stuck up,” resentfully dwells on a lonely, watching-from-a-distance feeling. This is a well-discussed Carpy topic, showing up as early as 2018 in their debut EP “I Think Everyone’s a Cop” (check out our previous feature). An explosive mantra carries out the remainder of the track while an ambient piece of deteriorating guitar feedback leaves room for reflection.
Carpool is a hometown secret whose collective heart-on-their-sleeve meaning gets bigger by the day. With the right people behind them, the no-limits group could really take it there, as they work on their next full length with Jay Zubricky of Buffalo’s GCR audio. A Sheryl Crow cover here, a hardcore song there, Carpy seems to be in for the ride. That’s good, cause it’s about to get real.