.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/avett-brothers-the-carpenter-380-1347301185.jpg The Carpenter

The Avett Brothers

The Carpenter

American/Republic
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
September 11, 2012

The most telling moment on the Avett Brothers' seventh album is "Pretty Girl From Michigan," part of a decade-long song series that began with "Pretty Girl From Matthews." On "Michigan," the bluegrass pickin' and raw country harmonies of previous "Girls" – born partly, one imagines, from repeated listens to the Stones' "Dead Flowers" – give way to fat electric-guitar ri_ s and pomaded, doo-wop-fl avored vocals. Like much of The Carpenter, it's the sound of a band pushing past an old identity and toward something bigger.

2009's Rick Rubin-produced I and Love and You confirmed the Avett Brothers' transformation from quasi-bluegrass combo to modern soft-rock force. The Carpenter, also produced by Rubin, does an even better job balancing their roots charm and pop ambition, with straightforward and sturdy songcraft that holds up even when these polite Southern boys' lyrics tilt toward corn. Mood swings keep things interesting: "Winter in My Heart" is a weeper with a ghostly singing saw; "I Never Knew You" is a bouncy, piano-driven confection full of Beatlesque touches. You could argue here for less cello, more hot-pickin' and hootenanny hollering. But this crew aspires to be more than a jam-band circuit attraction. They've become Auto-Tune-less pop stars, and The Carpenter will only brighten their shine.

Listen to 'The Carpenter':

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Nightshift”

    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com