“The Carpenter,” The Avett Brothers’ seventh studio album, intimately blends sadness and soul into a soothing mix of their distinct bluegrass-infused folk rock sound. They pick up right where 2009’s breakthrough, “I and Love and You,” left off with catchy melodies and passionately touching lyrics tailor-made for the crisp autumn days ahead.
In an NPR article this August, Seth Avett noted that as he ages life grows to resemble merely “biding time between tragedies.” As the group matures and assumes this introspective form, nearly every track on the album displays a stirring emotional quality, focusing largely on mortality and desire. Even the seemingly cheery tracks such as “I Never Knew You” and “Live and Die” synthesize jangly hook-filled tunes with a heavy poignant core. Most other songs convey their serious thematic direction with relaxed instrumentation and songs centering on death and devotion. “If I live the life I’m given / I won’t be scared to die” croons Scott Avett in the album’s opening ballad, “The Once and Future Carpenter.” The playful, sprawling 97-second “Geraldine” completes The Avett Brothers’ repertoire of talents, offering lighthearted tracks reminiscent of their early albums.
Produced by the prolific Rick Rubin, “The Carpenter” contains a collection of 12 earnestly affecting songs, beautifully crafted in the stead of a heavy heart.