"As long as it’s good, it’s Carlon." That’s the musical philosophy Ryan McGlynn and the rest of New Jersey band Carlon live by. A fitting motto, considering how difficult it is to classify which genre this quartet belongs in. Listening to Carlon, echoes of classic rock, folk, country, western, and even psychedelic influences infuse together to create a truly unique musical experience. Lead guitarist McGlynn shrugs off what sounds like a complex description of Carlon’s sound. "It’s just modern American music," he said. "We each have all our own preferences, psychedelic, rhythmic, folk, rock-based. It all mixes and mashes and different parts poke their heads out in our music."
Carlon’s first full length studio album, Johari Window, incorporates all the aforementioned elements. To save you the Wikipedia search, a Johari window is a psychological exercise used to measure how you see yourself versus how others see you in order to communicate more effectively. "It was appropriate for us, what we were going through together, musically and as people, it’s easier to work when you can communicate with each other and get across an idea musically" said McGlynn of the unusual album title.
The collection of songs on the album represent Carlon’s myriad of musical influences. "Where the Driveway Ends" sounds like it was left off George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, "Caution" evokes the Plastic Ono Band, and "Red Rover" pulls some inspiration from African folk music. The strongest track from the bunch is "Have a Window", which is simply a refreshing rock song.
Instead of recording Johari Window in the bland environment of a studio, the band chose a different route. Carlon utilized their 20,000 square foot warehouse rehearsal space to record the entire album. McGlynn describes the space as, "the coolest fucking place. It was a fun, happy joyland." The warehouse provided a relaxing atmosphere for the group and because of the size, allowed the guys to play waffle ball games during breaks. "Every instrument we owned was there, it was home for an entire year," said McGlynn.
The album is quite the departure from Carlon’s first EP, Suburban Heel. McGlynn said the group’s first musical effort was them trying to be the White Stripes and that the songs ended up sounding forced. "We felt we had to put some distortion in to get attention. This time we said â€˜let’s just do what we do and not push too much for the sake of being heard.’"
Carlon performs Thursday, December 3rd at the Middle East in Cambridge at 9 p.m. Expect to hear tracks from Johari Window (available on iTunes) and brand new songs the band is in the process of writing and recording for the next album.