If, like me, you have never listened to The Avett Brothers before the release of their latest studio album, Carpenter, then you are going to be pleasantly surprised. You are also going to be pissed that your friends have kept them from you for so long. This folk-rock trio from North Carolina somehow manages to pull off a great album that dances beautifully along the edge of bluegrass and rock.
The album starts with a very soft folk-roots feel to it. The opening track is almost a throat clearing. The Once And Future Carpenter is the band warming their chops up. There is a sense of anticipation here as the guitar and vocals kick off the song. By the time the rest of the instruments kick in the hook has been set. The next two songs (Live And Die, Winter In My Heart) work to keep the country flavour while still making it accessible to those of a non-country persuasion. It doesn’t take long for the Brothers to start rocking out though.
As the album builds the songs keep their acoustic sensibilities and instrumentations, but take on more a pop-rock feel. I Never Knew You is a great bittersweet song that takes on a faster tone as the boys kick into a higher gear. One of the things I love about this tune is the harmonies and the sometimes soaring vocal line. The Avett Brothers might have got a start as a bluegrass band, but this retro-style 60’s rock wears well on them. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the song Geraldine. I don’t even want to mention how many times I’ve heard this song so far. It is catchy, it is well structured, it has a great groove, and it is just freaking good.
The Carpenter is an album that can fit just about any mood. The songs are clean, the production values are solid, and the musicians…they are just at the top of their game right now. If I have any criticism of this album it is that The Avett Brothers don’t seem to be 100% sure if they want to stay a bluegrass band or if they want to be a more focused folk/pop-rock band. The thing is, they play both sides extremely well. Beginning to end this is a solid album that deserves a place on any playlist.
Tags: album review, Avett Brothers, bluegrass, Carpenter, Chris angel, folk rock, indie, Reviews, The Avett Brothers - Carpenter album review, The Avett Brothers - Carpenter review