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Sound & fury
Pop meets punk in the music of Atlanta's Carnivores
From Atlanta, it's the Carnivores!

The Carnivores’ music is like a rushing rock ‘n’ roll river, fed by the twin tributaries of sledgehammer punk and sweet, clever pop.

Sometimes, rainy rivulets of poly–rhythmic tropicalia — from the exotic rainforests of Brazil — run down and join in the chemical reaction of the churning musical currents.

OK, so that’s a fairly pretentious way of describing a rock band.

But the Carnivores, playing the Hang Fire Saturday, Feb. 13, just can’t be summed up with a few one–syllable words.

The Atlanta band formed two years ago, and gigged around for a while as Chainestereo, finally changing the name after tiring of having to spell and/or pronounce it for everybody (they played their one and only Savannah show during this period).

Tropicalia — also know as tropicalismo — is a form of musical fusion created when rock ‘n’ roll is bred with Brazilian rhythms.

It’s a sweet mix on such Carnivores tracks as “Heart of Copper,” with Nathaniel Higgins’ choppy, reggae–like guitar making big waves around an infectious dance groove and Philip Frobos’ bubbling basslines.

Still, the vocals sound like purebred, snotty punk.

Carnivores recordings — check out the waxy All Night Dead album — are crudely made, awash in a dark and inscrutable sonic sheen, as if the rather complex music was coming irresistibly through the walls, from a back bedroom down the hall.

“We’re all very skilled at our instruments, which is something that most punk bands, I guess, lack,” says Frobos.
“We like to make it melodic and pop–accessible — I don’t know if ‘accessible’ is the right word, but we’re more into the songwriting aspects than showing off our chops.

“We like to put our energy more towards that and the melodies. And making the best pop song we can make.”
Caitlin Lang plays keyboards in the band, provides urgent vocals and from all reports (the band is a critics’ darling in Atlanta) is the whirling dervish that fuels the Carnivores’ stage performances.

“We just love punk music,” Frobos explains. “We love the Clash, and we love the Buzzcocks, the Replacements and all of that punk spirit. And we have a really energetic live show, so I think a lot of that comes out in that. And also the energy that was in a lot of the tropicalia groups, too. That kind of fury.”

Drummer Ross Politi is a new addition to the group; he also plays guitar with the Atlanta band Pleasure Cruise.
Tauseef Anam, who’d drummed with the Carnivores since the Chainestereo days, recently dropped out to go to graduate school.

“He’s going to go and get a little serious about his life,” says Frobos. “He had to hang his rock ‘n’ roll shoes up.”

The Carnivores

Where: Hang Fire, 37 Whittaker St.

When: At 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13

Phone: (912) 443–9956