\"YAY! Looks like good music is coming back!\" -Margo Guryan
\"Catchy, sweet, tender, quirky, and sung with unbelievable charm. One of this summer\'s hits. (One of mine, anyway.)\" -Louis Philippe
\"[Jeff Boller] must be the long lost son of Brian Wilson if the mp3s on the band\'s web site are anything to go by.\" -This Almighty Pop!
\"Jeff Boller is a one-man pop machine known as The Simple Carnival... and where the hell have his pop stylings been all of my life?\" -RetroLowFi
\"When I\'ve had a song stuck in my head for a week and I\'m still not ready for something else to take its place, I consider that a good sign. This week, my mental jukebox has mostly been playing... The Simple Carnival.\" -Too Much Apple Pie
\"A Nilsson for the modern generation.\" -Russell\'s Reviews
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The Simple Carnival does not rock. Singer/ songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Boller couldn\'t agree more.
\"There are a million musicians who play rock music better than I can, so I don\'t bother trying,\" says Boller.
Instead, this Pittsburgh, PA-based recording project excels at something entirely different: writing and recording quirky pop songs coated with a colorful orchestral sheen. These qualities are aptly demonstrated on the recently-released Me and My Arrow EP, available through CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and www.simplecarnival.com.
Boller describes The Simple Carnival\'s sound as \"what might happen if The Beach Boys and Harry Nilsson collaborated on Sesame Street.\" The Harry Nilsson influence is front and center with The Simple Carnival\'s imaginative cover of Nilsson\'s classic, \"Me and My Arrow.\"
\"I\'ve always loved that song, but the original version is only two minutes long,\" Boller explains. \"I wanted to keep what made the original so special, but have it sound more complete -- the way I always wanted to hear it.\"
Other songwriting and sonic delights await listeners of the Me and My Arrow EP, such as the Four Seasons-meets-Fleetwood Mac bounciness of \"Caitlin\'s On the Beach,\" the humorous college campus alien invasion of \"Really Really Weird,\" and the coffeehouse portrait of Pittsburgh\'s South Side in \"Over Coffee and Tea.\" The common thread linking these tracks together is Boller\'s smart songwriting and rich, sunshine pop-influenced vocal harmonies.
Yet vocals are not the only thing Boller contributes. While The Simple Carnival\'s recordings often sound like a live band with orchestral embellishments, in reality Boller plays all thirty or so featured instruments himself, layering their sounds one at a time in his basement studio.
\"I used to create productions for other people where I had technology simulating the sound of live instruments,\" he explains. \"Eventually I realized that most of my favorite records didn\'t use those techniques, so I sold everything and started over. I began acquiring various instruments and learned to play them so I could match the sounds I was hearing in my head.\"
The things Boller discovered in his journey to becoming a one-man-band are reflected in his musician-centric blog, Songs and Sonics. \"I’ve been fortunate to interview some of my influences, like Sean O’Hagan from The High Llamas, as well as other artists whose work I admire. I get them to talk in-depth about areas of songwriting and recording that most music magazines don’t touch.\"
The Simple Carnival has received rave reviews from such artists as \'60s sunshine pop songwriter Margo Guryan and indiepop legend Louis Philippe, and will likely earn more kudos when its full-length debut album, Girls Aliens Food, is released on Sundrift Records on 10/1/2008. The album can be preordered at a temporarily reduced price at www.simplecarnival.com.
So after seven years and three EPs, will The Simple Carnival finally feature a crunchy guitar riff, a wild drum solo, or -- gasp -- moments that rock out on the new album?
\"Not a chance,\" Boller says. \"I wouldn\'t want to disappoint anybody.\"