If ever there was an album that reminded you of the excitement and anticipation of summer it is this one. Carl Culley’s Little Adventures tells an in depth story of a summer romance and the roller coaster of emotions it holds. It all begins at the start of the relationship, and ends in an unavoidable fashion at the end of summer. Everything is about love, from the exhilarating moments of happiness to the detrimental final breakup. With alternative influences such as Coldplay and U2 it is no surprise that his music parallels theirs. Little Adventures, though, has a distinctive electronic influence similar to The Postal Service and Phoenix as well.
The album was created in its’ entirety in Culley’s small apartment studio, without the use of many elaborate features, but he did an excellent job of hiding that fact. The instrumentation on each track was recorded and composed solely by him. On top of that, he even designed his own album artwork.
Culley’s age is also a surprise, given that he is still fairly young. This drive to play music has been with him since he was a mere eight years old. Since then, he has learned to write music, sing, and play drums, guitar, and piano. After recently graduating from the Musical Theatre program at the University of Oklahoma his talents have only been heightened. But being only 21, he is able to impart a youthful enthusiasm into his music both within his beats and within his lyrics, which reaches out to the young heart within each person.
He has been working on the lyrics for this album since all the way back in 2010, which has turned out to be very beneficial to him. He is very creative with his lyrics, which allows him to devise the layout of songs in unusual ways. “Scripted Rain,” for instance, tells about the ups and downs of this romance. He sings, “Movie stars can’t complain; they’ve got scripted rain to make love in. See, if I had my way we’d be alone tonight.”
“Little Adventures” is all about living for a single night. He sings about how “tonight is for little adventures” and how we are created out of the moments we share and the adventures we take part in. He uses his own background vocals on a small portion of the track towards the end; he begins adding more excitement to the chorus by layering his vocals and by kicking up the beat.
Some of his songs have more of an electronic atmosphere than others. “Summer Behavior,” for instance, draws parallels to the thick, keyboard-laden sound that Passion Pit often uses within their albums. The beat is very catchy, making the song as a whole exceptionally memorable. While this song is rather quick, “Deserve The World” is slower and relies heavily on its rich drumming to give it a powerful, passionate resonance. The song begins the downfall of this couple’s relationship. She tells him that she wants to end things, but he thinks the opposite; she is ready to throw everything away, while he thinks that they both deserve the world.
Culley’s style varies dramatically from start to finish, having everything from slow piano tunes like “2011/Wild Spirits” and lively dance songs like “Maybe We Are The Moment” within his album. Two aspects stay the same, however, and that is how the album tends to revolve around the use of the piano and how Culley incorporates some type of electronic beat into everything he writes.
Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)