The Carnival's self-titled album from 1969 sounds quite a bit like the sunny blend of L.A. sunshine pop and easy Brazilian rhythms that Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 were dishing out at the time. No big surprise there as the Carnival was made up of Brasil '66 exiles Jose Suares and Janis Hansen. They were joined by Terry Fischer, a member of the Kim Fowley-produced girl group the Murmaids and bassist Tommy Neal. The music was bolstered by the presence of the legendary Wrecking Crew, and the whole deal was overseen by producer Bones Howe. The group covers pop tunes almost exclusively, wrapping "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Walk On By," "Sweets for My Sweet," "Son of a Preacher Man," and the Beatles' "The Word" in their silky embrace, sounding like some of the classiest, most swinging elevator music you'd ever want to hear. The songs that aren't pop hits of the day come off well also; the group-penned "Canto de Carnival" and the very bossa "Laia Ladaia" start the album off with a fizzy kick. It is a bit of a shame the rest of the record didn't continue in this more Brazilian vein. Still, the record is a lot of fun and Janis Hansen has a wonderfully pure and sweet voice that manages to transcend the easy backings and really soar soulfully. Fans of her work with Mendes, and of Mendes and the EZ Brazil sound, should add this record to their collection with no hesitation.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra