Renowned for their inspired take on roots music, the group offer up several worthy tracks this time around too.
Melodic country jangle is a recurring sound. "Once and Future Carpenter" and "I Never Knew You" are will both get you tapping your toes. The same holds true for the infectious banjo stroll "Live and Die".
The mid-tempo "Paul Newman vs The Demons" is the biggest nod to rock. The energetic and lilting "Geraldine" leans that way as well.
The Avett Brothers are at their best when they lay their souls to bare. On The Carpenter it happens with the introspective "Through My Prayers" and the very toucing "A Father's First Spring".
Unfortunately, there are a number of songs that simply don't stick. Cuts like "Pretty Girl from Michigan", "February Seven", and "Life" come off as lifeless, even after repeated listening. Orchestral layers make their way into the Avett Brothers' sound on "Down With the Shine", but it fails to lift it out of its rut.
There are undoubtedly some powerful numbers on The Carpenter. However, it's exceedingly difficult to give a record an unqualified recommendation when a full quarter of the songs elicit nothing more than a shrug.
The Avett Brother play the Molson Ampitheatre in Toronto on September 12th.
Best tracks: "Live and Die", "Geraldine"
Track listing for The Carpenter:
- Once and Future Carpenter
- Live and Die
- Winter In My Heart
- Pretty Girl from Michigan
- I Never Knew You
- February Seven
- Through My Prayers
- Down With the Shine
- A Father's First Spring
- Paul Newman vs The Demons