Carpool - My Life In Subtitles


BrooklynVegan album announcement

BrooklynVegan exclusive vinyl

FLOOD single premiere

The Alternative: Album Review (4/5)

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and remember why you started doing something in the first place. That’s what Carpool decided to with My Life In Subtitles, the four-piece’s second full-length (and first for SideOneDummy). As such, the majority of these songs were written by the band’s two mainstays, Chris ‘Stoph’ Colasanto and Tommy Eckerson, who formed Carpool in Rochester, NY in 2018. The result is that the band—now completed by drummer Alec Westover and bassist Torri Ross—have made a record that both harks back to the purity of its beginnings but which also evolves their sound at the same time. After a period in which bandmembers came and went, it’s a streamlining of intentions, a chance to regroup, re-find and reassert their identity once again.

“We wanted to bring it back to the band’s roots,” says Colasanto, “and the original concept of why we started doing it—just me and Tommy writing songs together. It felt like we had so many members of the band at one point that there were too many cooks in the kitchen almost. This is more genuine and authentic.”

“I think a big thing, too,” adds Eckerson, “was that the house Stoph was living in while we were recording the album, and leading up to it when we were rehearsing for that, had an upright piano in it. So Stoph sat down with the piano—which is where the piano intro and some of the softer dynamics came to fruition. We were really making an effort to have dynamics on the album where there are low lows and high highs in terms of the instrumentation and the themes.”

My Life In Subtitles does indeed ebb and flow through those low lows and high highs. Recorded with Jay Zubricky—a Buffalo-based producer who has worked with Every Time I Die, Pentimento and Marigold, among others—the result is an album with has a cohesive thematic and musical narrative. It begins with that plaintive, piano-led title track, a time-stopping 93-seconds of fragility that mixes pathos and humor to great effect. ‘My life in subtitles/What a terrible show’ sings Colasanto, setting up a duality that runs through the album’s remaining twelve songs. Those already familiar with the band might be surprised by such a calm and graceful opener, but as soon as second track “Can We Just Get High” kicks in, the Carpool people will be expecting comes crashing through the speakers in a surge of quasi-nihilistic recklessness. The whole album flits between those two extremes seamlessly.

“The two different styles are a sign of the way we’re maturing and growing as people as musicians,” says Colasanto. “We’re starting to write for ourselves and we’re also writing songs that we would want to hear. They way I like to listen to music is to put on an album and listen to it start to finish. I like albums that take me on a journey and that show me what those songwriters were feeling while making you feel the same way.”

Those emotions are, for the large part, rooted in band’s hometown of Rochester. Although Colasanto has since moved to Brooklyn, these songs wouldn’t have been made if it weren’t for the experience in the Rochester scene. That’s another way in which the band take a step back with this album. Because while Carpool have long since achieved and outgrown their initial goal of playing that city’s 200 capacity Bug Jar venue, their hometown is still embedded in their DNA. This record is a wonderful homage to where they’re from – and also serves as a warning to the rest of the world what Rochester has already known for years.

“I don’t think anyone reps Rochester as hard as we do,” chuckles Eckerson. “I feel like we’re the from the fucking Holy Land. Carpool is a band about sharing smiles with your friends, but they should never have let us play the Bug Jar, because now we’re menaces.”

“We honestly wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for that community, adds Colasanto. “So thank you, Rochester!”


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Explicit Tracks
#2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11