The Snake The Cross The Crown - On a Carousel of Sound, We Go Round
Release Date: October 16, 2009
Record Label: Equal Vision Records
Watching Radiohead's documentary, Meeting People is Easy, may be uncomfortable to some on a level where you feel bad for the band. The hype they gain and the ride for which they take amongst the media and a growing fan base almost implodes them. On one end, they do not care about the success. They'll continue to do what they want without outside consent. But deeper, the viewer can almost see the struggle the band is beginning to feel within: The drive to write something completely new or the way that they wanted (and did) dismantle that for which made them famous. (Unbeknown at the time, it only cemented their legacy.) Meeting People is Easy is a rare documentary that shoots past production and storyline, only to make the audience really feel for the these artists and musicians.
While On a Carousel of Sound, We Go Round does not have the same delivery in its production, you still capture that same feeling. It's looking into a band with so much talent, while they are just content on just keeping things small. It's kept so small in fact, that dismay of touring and personal conflict halted the band from what could be recognition among more than so few like me. The documentary primarily covers the band's recording and touring session around their last album Cotton Teeth. At one point you don't feel bad for the band as they constantly state that they want to be successful without putting out the work. Who wouldn't want to in this present industry? Why would you put your life on the line when the percentage of making it are far worse than any lottery drawing?
What's even more jaw dropping is the demeanor for which the band show across their overdubbed thoughts throughout the film. They understand that they're in the wrong and have accepted their fate of being a studio band and never getting past that. There's no fight, and that hurts as a fan of not only the band, but also as a music enthusiast. Then your mind begins to wonder how many of your favorite bands have ever felt the same demise because of that mindset? How many bands can't take the touring life and that has determined their legacy because of such fear?
Then you think of an even worse thought: How many awful musicians get past it all and succeed? Besides the band's turmoil with touring, talks of a natural pace as musicians and playing against the normal standards of most when recording and releasing music also was tough thought to swallow. Do labels have a right to pressure musicians into a product? (This is not a stab at Equal Vision, but a general statement.) Do fans pressure bands to constantly create instead of waiting patiently? Who projects more of the pressure upon the creator?
On a Carousel of Sound, We Go Round shows the immediate fears and pressures of not only a touring band trying to rise up among the saturation, but the same band coming to terms with making music for themselves and never making a living off it. Among the bittersweet story of "the right way not working out" is a parable about how hard it is to do what you want to do with yourself in the way before even tackling other problems. By the end of the film, you want the good guy to win, but the antagonist was himself the whole time. The same way Meeting People is Easy makes me feel uncomfortable about being a writer and makes me more self-conscious than I already am, On a Carousel of Sound... makes me sad that I've lost and will lose more great artists like The Snake the Cross the Crown every year while I'm in this business.