Amongst a sea of electronic dance music and bubble gum pop that is saturating the music industry these days, The Avett Brothers have an original thing going. Many have compared them to or lumped them into the same category as Mumford & Sons (QRO live review), but these guys are in a league of their own. Mumford & Sons seem content to consistently build popular songs out of the same mold whereas The Avett Brothers offer a more stripped down folk sound that leans more toward the realm of country music.
Their new album The Carpenter marks their second time teaming up with super producer Rick Rubin, and that fact alone may be one of the things that make them great (better than Mumford & Sons). They have been around for a little while now, since 2002 to be exact, but they make the perfect pairing for a guy like Rubin. He likes to take acts like The Avett Brothers, who already have a good thing going, and make it better. That is exactly what he did with their breakthrough album, 2009’s I and Love and You (QRO review).
The Carpenter builds on what they did with I and Love and You and is equal parts fun and sentimental. It opens with the song “The Once and Future Carpenter”, which is a folk-y ode to their lives, knowing where they come from, and no matter where they are going, being sure of who they are. Another great song along these lines is “February Seven”. It is easy to think of loved ones when listening to this song as it talks about going, “On the search for something real / Trading what I know for what I feel… And as the last breath was gone from me / The light broke in and brought me to my feet / I’m rested and I’m ready to begin.” It’s really quite inspirational. One cannot help but wonder if there are spiritual undertones intended.
For those who have gone through loss, the song “Through My Prayers” is sure to strike a cord. It is an emotional yet simple mix of cello and guitar with the lyrics, “Every night after and every day since / I find myself crying when the memory hits / Sometimes it knocks me down / sometimes I can just put it away / Down in my mind where I don’t care to go / The pain of a lesson is letting me know / If you have love in your heart let it show while you can / Now I understand / But now my only chance to talk to you is through my prayers.”
For those possibly looking for a departure in sound, for the most part The Carpenter doesn’t deviate drastically from Avett Brothers albums of past years. However, the song “Paul Newman vs. The Demons” is more of a straight up rock offering than most might be used to from these guys. The Carpenter is a legitimate folk/country/alternative offering that shows off not only their musical skills but their ability to craft lyrics that are easy to relate to and might even help some folks through tough times.
MP3 Stream: “Through My Prayers“