\"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
* * * * *
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-based recording project excels at something entirely different: writing and recording quirky pop songs coated with a colorful orchestral sheen. These qualities are front and center on The Simple Carnival\'s debut album, Girls Aliens Food, 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.\" Reviewers of The Simple Carnival\'s previous EP release, Me and My Arrow, not only agreed, but heaped lavish praise: IndiePages declared every track as \"A-side material,\" Bill\'s Music Forum characterized the EP as \"infectious,\" and Russell\'s Reviews christened Boller \"a Nilsson for the modern generation.\"
Girls Aliens Food sparkles with a late-seventies AM pop radio feel: sunshine pop-influenced harmonies, soaring melodies, tack piano, handclaps, and vintage keyboards dominate. Jangly guitars make several appearances, but any trace of a fuzz pedal is curiously absent.
Beneath the bubbly songs about college campus alien invasions, lovesick joggers, and the joys of trespassing is a surprising amount of emotional resonance: \"I wanted to make an album that was both fun and serious at the same time,\" Boller says. \"I like the idea of something that can be enjoyed for what it is on a surface level, but carries some weight for those willing to dig a little deeper.\"
The opening track on Girls Aliens Food, \"Really Really Weird,\" has been making the rounds on YouTube with a humorously low-budget animated video, and has been viewed over 6,000 times as of this writing. Boller says: \"I used construction paper, glue, and some free computer programs to piece the cartoon together. The reaction to the video has been great, which was a bit of a surprise given the fact that I can\'t draw.\"
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. Even the party chatter in \"Cocktails\" is all Boller\'s voice.
\"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 on his journey to becoming a one-man-band are reflected in his musician-centric blog, Songs and Sonics (www.songsandsonics.com). \"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. Their answers are often inspiring to read, so now I have all kinds of ideas I want to try on my next album.\"