46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Streamlined, but super consistent / super satisfying,
This review is from: The Carpenter (Audio CD)
Sometime after 2000, bluegrass and folk music started to experience a revival - bands were springing up from all parts of the western world playing music that was influenced by folksy do-it-yourself songwriting. It would be hard to say that the Avett Brothers aren't at least partly responsible for this uprising. The band has been around since the early 2000's, releasing 6 full-length records since their inception (among a ton of other releases) - their latest release is not only the 7th for the band, but it's also the second with Rick Rubin helming production duties. Rubin, who's worked with everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Jay Z to Johnny Cash, helped the band shave away some of their grittier aspects to make way for the infectious melodies of 2009's I AND LOVE AND YOU. 2012's THE CARPENTER finds the Avett Brothers continuing where they left off.
If I had to describe the Avett Brothers' sound, I'd say it falls somewhere between the blue-grassy stained Old Crow Medicine Show and the indie-sensibilities of Mumford & Sons. The album begins with "The Once and Future Carpenter," a song that relies on the band's trademark Americana lyrics. Following the first track, the album hits it's groove with three fantastic songs in a row ("Live and Die," "Winter in My Heart," and "Pretty Girl from Michigan.") The second track, "Live and Die" serves as the lead single promoting THE CARPENTER. It's an upbeat track, but it's defined by its dominant melody - it's a song that will be hard to get out of your head with lyrics to match: "Can't you tell that I am alive? Let me prove it to you." The next track, "Winter in My Heart" is one of the more somber tracks on the album. It begins with only vocals and guitar, but it slowly develops into a more haunting ballad - it strikes a balance of being both beautiful and heartbreaking. After the last notes play out, "Pretty Girl from Michigan" changes the pace considerably - if the previous track was one of the softest on the record, this track is one of the more rocking.
While I do think that the album peaks early, the remaining 7 tracks are not to be scoffed at. THE CARPENTER could be the Avett Brothers' most consistently satisfying release yet. "Through My Prayers" is a nice ballad that wears its sincerity like a badge of honor. "Down With the Shine" ventures towards blue-grass territory with wonderful results - its swaying melody (and horn section) is hard to resist. The upbeat "Geraldine" only lasts barely over a minute and a half, but it makes a lasting impression on the album. The album concludes with "Life," a final ballad with beautiful harmonies that just hits all the right notes. It's a terrific ending, and I think it's a great complement to the tonal qualities of the album's opener, "The Once and Future Carpenter."
The Avett Brothers made their name by working - their albums are earnest, sincere, and feel lived-in. The same kind of craftsmanship a carpenter would show for a piece of woodworking the band show with each record they release, and THE CARPENTER is no exception. For me, this might be the most consistently satisfying Avett Brothers record to date. I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers, or Old Crow Medicine Show. Essential tracks to sample/download: "Live And Die," "Pretty Girl From Michigan" and "Winter In My Heart."
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 11, 2012 2:47:08 PM PDT
Christopher Ferreira says:
Small correction for you. The Carpenter is actually their 7th full length in addition to 2 EP's and 3 live albums.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2012 2:55:46 PM PDT
T. A. Daniel says:
Hi Christopher -- thanks for the feedback. I've updated the original review. :)
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