Having witnessed a rather radical reshuffling which saw the substitution of three of its founding members, German five-piece Luxuslarm return with their third studio album, Carousel, showing that their lineup isn't the only thing to have evolved. The follow-up to 2010's So Laut Ich Kann is still predominantly a polished pop/rock affair, with several tracks that could have been lifted from Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway such as the anthemic love song "Atemlos," the angsty "An Dich," and the gentle, string-soaked ballad "Ich Beweg Mich Hier Nicht Weg." But elsewhere, the band appear to have used the shake-up as a catalyst for a more eclectic sound, with admittedly contrasting results. The slick, acoustic hip-hop of "Mehr Gewicht," a satirical look at society's obsession with beauty featuring the guest MC skills of Culcha Candela, is a promising crossover attempt, but the wishy-washy soul-pop of "Lagerfeuer Song" and the formulaic gospel-tinged R&B of "Weil Man Es Liebe Nennt," suggests that the more urban sound isn't exactly their forte. The record is much more convincing when it ramps up the guitars and allows Janine "Jini" Meyer to showcase her impressively powerful set of lungs, as on the cinematic orchestral rock of "Du Bist Schon," the punky riffs and hair metal solos of the Paramore-esque title track, and the indie disco of closer "Aus Dem Sinn," which echoes the Gossip's "Standing in the Way of Control," with its pulsing beats, funky licks, and pounding basslines. Despite these forays into more Kerrang!-friendly territory, Carousel is unlikely to convert their homeland's hard rock audience just yet, but it's an encouraging progression which suggests the band could win them over in the future.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien