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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars9
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2008
If you're reading this review then you've found out about this band - good for you - you're paying attention. This is the best album of the year that probably no one will hear. These guys are a hell of a band - good songs, good production - not overdone, good energy. If I were to compare it to anything it sounds like Old Crow Medicine Show crossed with the White Stripes. There are a lot of bands out there right now wishing they were the Builders & the Butchers - hopefully they'll get their deserved recognition.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2009
Crazy Alaskans + beer + bluegrass and punk rock roots = win.

This has to be one of the most interesting albums I've heard since Lonesome Crowded West. I can't really say more than that. I can't wait to see this band develop. My only regret is not seeing these guys in Alaska when I lived there. I'll just have to catch them next time they are in Boston. Buy it, thank me later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2011
The percussion unit's the first Jack to pop out of the box. The Builders and the Butchers like to split a drum set into two parts and have one drummer playing on each half, creating what they call a "deconstructed" percussion sound. This lends a communal sound to "The Night Pt 1," and carries on throughout the album. "Red Hands," the first bona fide song on this debut, sets the disk off with a bluesy start-stop bang. Momentum weakens with "The Spanish Death Song," with drawn-out melodica sections on a track that probably should have only been half as long; as we see on this and a couple other tracks, singer-guitarist Ryan Sollee's vocals haven't developed the subtle touch necessary to carry the slower bridges.

That brings us to the heart of the album. "Black Dresses" is a quick, catchy little number revolving around a woman "with a stone where there should've been a heart," while the mandolin-led "Bottom of the Lake" is arguably the gloomiest, catchiest, most intense number out of this entire album.

The brittle, slow-paced "The Gallows" undoes a lot of the momentum from the previous two tracks, but things pick right back up with the infectious, insult-laden fun of "Bringin' Home the Rain" ("You're dancin' with your demons, baby / you forgot your former life / and it was hard swimmin' once but now you're daily divin' in!"). The next four tracks continue in much the same strong vein, until coming to a disappointing conclusion with the contrived lifter-upper "Find Me in the Air."

If I could, I would have given this 3 1/2 stars, but I had to pick either 3 or 4. The major strengths on this disk are the musicianship, the loose feel of the percussion section, Sollee's authoritative yelp, and the gloomy atmosphere this band achieves from start to finish. Amateur production, a few weaker tunes and other promising yet under-developed pieces mitigate the overall project, however; while I sound like I'm being harsh, just listen to their other two albums ("Salvation is a Deep Dark Well" and "Dead Reckoning"), and you'll see that both are a definite leap forward from this flawed, yet promising start.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2010
If you listen to The Shins, The Avett Brothers, The Decemberists, Delta Spirit, Mumford and Sons, The White Stripes, The Dodos, The Fleet Foxes, The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, any of the members of The Monsters of Folk... hell, even if you like vintage R.E.M. or have any musical taste whatsoever, you're missing out by not hearing this album. The album is definitely more lyrically folk-inspired than any of the others (save maybe Mumford and Sons) and in a lot of ways not quite the "hyper-literate prog rock" (a Steven Colbert term for the Decemberists) of the others. Though you can hear the old-timey qualities of the songs, they seem immediately modern and somehow immediate. A super-strong percussive backbone drives all the tunes, and the songs are beautifully ordered to build on one another so that the sum is greater than the parts. Beautiful but strong male harmonies (rare to find on any album) compliment the driving force of the drums. A stunning and oftimes angry album, an album that seems to find as much positiveness and power in that emotion as the Clash did in London Calling. Beautiful, chilling, amazing. Buy this now.
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on August 9, 2014
This I think is the best of their releases. It has the most distinct sound and should being their debut. It is very raw and sounds as though it was recorded very low budget and that is definitely a massive part of the magic. We all have our whole lives to write and record our first albums. That is why so many debut albums are the best an artist ever puts out. Thankfully the releases that follow still have great songs and a high level of creativity. But this one stands out for the rawness that it possess.
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on September 17, 2015
My favorite album from them. Great musicians who combines folk, bluegrass and western into some dark, toe tapping tunes. The singer has a little Bob Dylan thing going too. The funny thing is that most of my musical tastes lean toward some form of metal. Somehow, these guys just fit right in.
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on December 28, 2012
meets all expectations, and i would like to buy more. Recommended for any of the fans, you would not be disappointed.
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on July 24, 2014
Excellent album from an excellent band. Too bad you won't hear these cats on the radio.
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on April 5, 2015
Really loving this band
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