There are moments of new wave elegance, such as "Shatter You Through," which employs a blend of bass grooves and synth lines, with Gibson's voice as the bow that ties it all together. Unfortunately, it marks the exception to the rule established by the album's other tracks, such as "For Every Bite," in which Gibson's filtered voice has a hard time competing with the other instruments for dominance.
The problem isn't with Carnation's expansive instrumental palette, but with the way that the record struggles to use its sounds to captivate, often letting each part float away into the ether — including Gibson's voice. Though drums and winding guitars (and some horns) provide a solid anchor to several tracks on the album's back half, it's not enough to combat the album's lack of impact. (Sub Pop)