The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers

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The Avett Brothers’s sixth album begins with the soft folksy melodies their growing fan base has come to appreciate. These quiet, softer songs, using the distinct sounds of the banjo, have a tinge of sadness. Lyrically they play it safe: for instance, with the oft-used metaphor, “It must be winter in my heart/There’s nothing warm in there at all.”

A few songs in, the band takes a turn toward more piano and the driving rhythms of electric guitar and keyboards. This new twist to their music allows them to explore more emotions than sadness and heartbreak; a number of songs have an edge of anger. By the time they get to the hard rock- and punk-infused “Paul Newman Vs. the Demons,” it seems like they are slowly weaning their listeners into new musical territory. If you join the band in singing, your voice will have grown hoarse by the end of the album. The Avett Brothers stay true to their distinct folk-bluegrass sound and beautiful melodies, while at times experimenting with an edgier punk rock sound. (Universal Republic)

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