The desert gets a bad reputation. Far too often in movies and television, people in the desert are either crawling on all fours because they need water so badly, or they are stoic, as though the heat has robbed them of anything as silly as human emotion.
With Borrowed, their first full-length record, the members of Black Carl have spit in the face of these ideas about life in the desert. As soon as the bass drops in at the opening of “Hussy,” the listener knows that these desert-dwellers have kept all of their emotion, and, yes, I’ll say it, soul.
This is a soul album, through and through. Emma Pew has the kind of voice that is equally arresting whether describing a night of being “tired and pissy” or her need to make peace with God.
All the while, the rhythm section kept me wanting to do an “awkward white boy” dance from beginning to the end of the album. With the funk they bring to the table and Pew’s voice, the band finds a knockout combination.
The album’s cover depicts five hands meeting in the middle of a circle. I assume they represent each of the band members. After listening to the album, I can’t help but think of these hands each belonging to a superhero with a quest to bring some much-needed soul to the Valley of the Sun.