CD Review: Dave Caruso’s Cardboard Vegas Roundabout
Andrew Curry’s Drink a Toast to Innocence was one of 2013’s tastiest soft rock/powerpop releases. It was very engaging for what it was – a cover record. And like most cover records, its great for bringing back fond memories. However, since its simply a regurgitation of old soft rock classics, its not unlike eating at the Olive Garden. Its fine for what it is but you can’t shake the feeling that something is missing.
If A Toast to Innocence is a trip to the Olive Garden, then Dave Caruso’s Cardboard Vegas Roundabout is like having dinner at the Vatican with the Pope. And he lets you wear the funny hat.
With a mix of guitar and piano driven soft rock numbers, one more carefully crafted than another, Cardboard Vegas Roundabout is a walk down memory lane while at the same time sounding fresh, original and engaging. Influences are all over the menu and he’s managed to combine all these ingredients into quite an imaginative concoction. You can hear Eric Carmen, Carol King or Barry Manilow in a number of the tracks. One of my favorites, “The Art of Erica”, reminds me a bit of Elvis Costello. And the jangle-pop of “Your Fake Friends” will surely please the most discerning of powerpop fans.
Other standout tracks include: “Champion”, “I’ve Tried To Write You” and “Its a Great Day for The Angels”.
On a side note, the packaging is terrific with a gate fold design and an enclosed booklet with lyrics. But best of all, one gets some insight into the anatomy of a song as Dave has included a second disc of demos. Nice touch.
Cardboard Vegas Roundabout would make a great holiday gift for the powerpop fan in your life. What the hell. Treat yourself. You deserve it.