carte blanche
Summer's End CD EP (SHMAT06)

Released: January 20, 2004

1. I'll Take A Chance
2. Hymn
3. Lucky
4. Don't Forget Love
5. Today I'm Crying
6. Everyone Around
7. Summer's End (play mp3)

Recommended for fans of: Yo La Tengo, Damon and Naomi, The Sundays, Low, The Softies

On the surface, this is ostensibly a collection of love songs. But before you go screaming out the door with visions of "Love Songs On The Coast", ponder upon this: If you could take a snapshot of the beginnings of a real relationship with all its emotional ups and downs, you'd see that it's not always sappy and trite. As a couple, members Richard and Dana are cognizant of that fact as they play their way carefully through seven songs of eloquent and dreamy pop. The washes of guitar and merry-go-round vocal patterns of "I'll Take A Chance", the 70s channeled inner groove of "Lucky", and the evocative and beautiful "Summer's End" all contribute to break out of the stereotypical mold that often haunts songs with these themes.

Sure, you can hear the occasional uninhibited confession or proclamation, but as often as not they will trip and fall, apologize, break down, or smile sadly. This is real. These are the sounds of the starts and stops of love that they have recorded for you. In their words, "It's the beginning, the end of something. This is where it is, this is where it starts."

Reviews / Press

Indieville, August 2004 - Matt Shimmer

The Summer's End EP is a collection of love songs, but, as the press sheet is quick to confirm, it is by no means sappy or derivative. Carte Blanche, comprised of real-life couple Richard Cranch and Dana Kruse, is much more content to deal with love's more realistic side. Using a dreamy, lush pop formula, they compose pleasant tunes that deal with every detail of a romantic relationship, from the euphoric highs to the harrowing lows. So sure, this is a love record - but where's the harm in that?

"Ill Take a Chance," arguably Summer's End's best moment, starts off the disc in fine form - its wonderful, breezy feel makes for an overwhelmingly beautiful listen. The dreary "Hymn" follows, but the next truly great song is "Don't Forget Love," a delicate, moving slice of cute acoustic pop - somewhat like a Yo La Tengo crossed with Mojave 3. The drastically emotional "Today I'm Crying" details romance's dark side, while the uplifting title-track closes the disc off in a lovely, Low mood.

Summer's End is a warm, comforting EP with some really enjoyable, dreamy indie pop tunes. Love songs are nothing new, but truly excellent ones can never be resisted., March 2004 - Steph

Summerís End is a comfortable fit on a chilly March afternoon with cold rain drizzling outside and a hot mug of lemon tea waiting to soothe my sore throat. Itís a sweater album, a slipper album and a crawl under the covers with only your eyes poking out album. But, although itís early March and Iím sick as a dog, I can imagine it feeling just as right taking it out for a drive on a summerís night eating ice cream and getting to know the one whoís sitting next to you. For now, I can only assume the second but this EP is said to represent the early stages of a relationship, the courtship if you will of two who are well on their way to falling in love. Perhaps it is, in fact, taken from the diary pages of the two members of Carte Blanche, Richard Cranch and Dana Kruse.

Iíve heard a lot of people say they never fought with their significant other until they were far into their relationship. It took my parents like three years to fightÖand thatís after their wedding day. We werenít so lucky; there were ups and downs, insecurities, doubts and obstacles. But there were also the times that brought us where we are today. And I think thatís what Carte Blanche is trying to say. They aimed not to make an album of ďlove songsĒ per se, but rather a portrait of a real life relationship. And itís nice ... (Read the full review)

Erasing Clouds, February 2004 - Dave Heaton

"I'll take a chance with you," Richard Cranch and Dana Kruse sing to each other on the first track of their debut EP as Carte Blanche, the Summer's End EP. They sing it sweetly, in the context of a gentle, dreamy folk-pop tune, but they also sing in the most somber of tones, as if the chance they're taking with each other might be a journey towards eternal doom and despair. This is that start of love as a potential avenue to pain and hurt as much as, or maybe even more than, a possible road towards unending happiness. All 7 songs on the EP are beautiful, with captivating melodies sung in a hushed but passionate tone, and a sensuous mix of acoustic and electric guitars. They also share an overtone of darkness, a feeling of trepidation or at least uncertainty. Then again, maybe that mood isn't darkness as much as comfortable melancholy. On one of the prettiest songs, the ballad "Lucky," Cranch sings of waking up on a rainy day and feeling a sense of absolute contentment, like the dark rain clouds are more a protective armor than anything menacing. That line between feeling completely right and feeling uncertain about the days to come is at the center of the entire EP. Every beginning is an end too, the title track reminds us at the EP's end, and every change is scary even as it's exciting. That feeling is captured in the song's lyrics, but also in the entire EP's music, which treads a perfect line between fear and hopeful anticipation.

Other Reviews:

In Music We Trust, September 2004 - Amanda Mathson, July 2004 - Edward McElvain
Splendid E-Zine, June 2004 - Mike Baker
Three Imaginary Girls, June 2004
Silent Uproar, June 2004 - Ryan
Lost At Sea, April 2004 - Bob Ladewig
Left Off The Dial, March 2004 - Danny Rowe
All Music Guide (4 Stars), February 2004 - Tim Sendra
Copacetic Zine, February 2004 - Janice
Smother.Net, January 2004 - J-Sin