Marie-Agnès Hallé at Piggledy Pop digs The Simple Carnival’s Smitten album!
The review is in French and can be found here. Here’s an English translation courtesy of Google:
Behind the name The Simple Carnival is the excellent musician and songwriter Jeff Boller. Touche-a-tout, a magician of pop, he likes to be an admirer of the Beach Boys, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Harry Nilsson, Burt Bacharach and Electric Light Orchestra. He embroideres, plays and produces brilliant harmonies at home in Pittsburg since the signing of his first jewel of 11 titles Menlo Park EP. I class this first gallop in the easy-listening vein and the second, Sonic Rescue League Vol 1, comprising 20 tracks, more in that of the sunshine-pop just like Girls Aliens Food and its 12 titles full of rich pop silky sixties. These three fabulous albums appear in the year 2015 and I recommend them warmly. As our dear friend Margo Guryan says “YAY! Looks like good music is coming back!”
February 14, 2017, The Simple Carnival takes off with the magnificent Smitten whose 11 tracks impress me. All the elements to seduce are there: inspiration and quality instrumentation with a touching and amusing interpretation. Jeff’s song is as romantic as it is efficacious, crystalline at will. His texts are delicate, colorful, as if a gramophone projected images on screen by his pavilion. The cinematographic methods are at the heart of the album, the essence of the songs and present in 3D videos that require a nice pair of red and blue glasses. For this method, The Simple Carnival and his team reaped in 2016 the award of the best video of the National Stereoscopic Association convention (3D-Con) for the title The Problem with Friends.
It is the sensual and amorous Smitten who enters the track at the opening of the album of the same name. The choruses coo, Jeff’s voice slips sensuously on the languid and funky moog. From the outset the American author distinguished himself and illustrated himself as a master of harmonic pop. Delicious arrangements can sometimes take us back through the shoulder straps at the time fluorescent leggings and eighties shoulder jackets. The dancing notes of Lunch for Dinner and the wah-wah of the guitar lead into a whirlwind of ‘hooo hooo haaa haaa’ to the joyful and twisting rhythm of the awesome Elizabeth’s House. One follows the adventure of the protagonist who is preparing to make the court to the said Elizabeth by going to her place on the playful tempo. The atmosphere lends furiously to dancing until sweet and sweet Everything that Grownups Know. Jeff Boller, who provides all the instruments except Chris Belin’s drummer, transcends the compositions by filling the space of his voice and under his designer cape, transcends his videos by filling the space of his pencil.
The line-up of solid guitars and class resplendent on the bassy drums and bass of Go Away I Like You Too Much when the ballad A Geek Like Me, with the alternating tempo enjoys singing ‘nananana’ in chorus with the maestro Boller . The disco-pop of Kiss Her You Dummy makes hesitate to release the disco balls of the cupboard (because one has already push the coffee table which blocks the access). The blooming groovy and funky melody unfolds strong and racy. The pop atmosphere continues with the delicious The Problem with Friends and makes a sensation. The study of harmonies and arrangements continues eloquent and eloquent on Tornado, dedicated to young parents, wanted no battery that does not miss his glorious and laughing return on That Thing We Got, sound candy where the electric guitar comes to have fun in the way Believer of the Monkees or Sugar Sugar of the Archies. The voices that count Heidi Engel’s participation take off in chorale-style guys with yeah yeah that swing vibrations and an ultra positive feeling. To finish so savoringly, it is an instrumental version of Smitten that closes this sublime disc, full of hits, impossible to decide between. The Prolific and Inspired Simple Carnival concocts his songs as the current undisputed master of pop genre 100% disco sunshine and Smitten is a wonder pop; ideal gift of Valentine’s Day.