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Album Review: Molotov Jukebox – Carnival Flower

3 min read

Molotov Jukebox is a vibrant and energetic six piece band based in London. They have become internationally renowned for their unique style and artistry involved in everything they do, including their music, music videos and album covers. Molotov Jukebox is fronted by the multi-talented Natalia Tena, who is best known for her roles as Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter and Osha in the hit series Game Of Thrones. It’s a wonder she finds time to be in a band, but it’s a good thing she does with  unique sultry vocals that glide effortlessly over the instrumentals. Carnival Flower is Molotov Jukebox’s first album; so does it live up to their lively and charismatic reputation?

Molotov Jukebox Carnival FlowerMolotov Jukebox’s sound has been described  as ‘Gypstep’; this is a combination of gypsy, dubstep and everything inbetween including swing, latin, samba, calypso, pop and disco. Carnival Flower embodies this idea of Gypstep as a genre, and many of the songs have an exotic sound filled with trumpets and a powerful rhythm section. Travel Softly, the opening track, is a great example of this sound. It is such a musically rich number, with a vibrant opening and colourful feel.

Songs such as Neon Lights and Can’t Find You have more of pop vibe to them, but they still retain the dynamic latin/samba feel. Punchlines is a soft pop ballad that’s not afraid to take melodic risks, and No Lady starts off with a beautifully stripped back introduction before becoming more energetic. There is no way to escape the sultry seduction of Tena’s voice throughout the album; it will embrace and mesmerise you in ways you wouldn’t think possible. Her voice is a unique, one-of-a-kind instrument that commands you to sit up and take notice.

Housefire Smile and Sexfoot take a different approach to the culturally exotic tunes before them. They both have synth-beat undertones, demonstrating the ‘step’ part of ‘Gypstep’. Housefire Smile features band member Sam Apley on vocals, and his harmonies with Tena are magnificent. Sexfoot has a brilliant accordian introduction, once again proving just how talented Natalia Tena is.

Towards the end of the album the songs do begin to sound a little similar, but it doesn’t matter as Carnival Flower leaves the listener wanting more of the rich and dynamic excellence it offers. Trying is the last track on the album, and has the same energetic pop/latin feeling as the rest of the album. However its charm is that halfway through it seemlessly moves into an acoustic guitar and vocals section, before changing back for a big, bright and bold ending. If any other band were to attempt this it would sound disjointed and incohesive, but Molotov Jukebox seem to be able to do anything with elegance and flair.

Molotov Jukebox are artists in the true sense of the word. They not only carefully hone their music, but the whole artistic and stylistic world that comes with the territory. Natalia Tena has a voice to die for and unlike any that you’ve heard before. If you haven’t yet heard Molotov Jukebox, then you better hurry up because you’re missing out.