Noise 101: CD reviews for Nov. 29
The Carpenter, the seventh studio album by The Avett Brothers, is a lesson of how a band can evolve to appeal to the masses but still keep its character. In face of their preceding album, I and Love and You, The Carpenter takes on more of a pop approach to its folk and roots-rock foundation. It’s a step down, but it still sounds quite solid, especially with the charming duo vocals of Scott and Seth Avett redeeming it. The problem lies in the tone. Where I and Love and You was focussed on boosting the listener’s soul, The Carpenter emits feelings akin to watching a baby owl being punted into a volcano. Mind you, this is only apparent if you really pay attention to the lyrics, but one can’t help but wonder why there isn’t more hope. The album barely meets my very high expectations, but it works. Fans may be feeling some apprehension about the band’s future due to the musical direction that was taken with this record. However, their restrained but fitting use of banjo should be noted. Someone needs to tell Mumford & Sons that this is how it should be done.
— Logan Pollon
The Poet’s Dead
Hidden Pony Records
Rah Rah’s progression as a band is easily traced through how they have named their albums. First was Going Steady, inevitably followed by Breaking Hearts. Now, the band treats listeners everywhere with The Poet’s Dead. The influence of being from Saskatchewan is ever-apparent, with their sound being a mix of folk-pop, alt-country and good old rock ‘n’ roll. However, what sets this band apart on their strongest album to date is how comfortable they feel with different members taking over different songs. While Erin Passmore or Marshall Burns take the lead on most tracks of the album, as they have in the past, Kristina Hedlund also begins to shine, bringing a new element that the band was lacking. Rah Rah is blessed with talent, as all six members of the band are multi-instrumentalists and it is easy to hear the fun on this album as they all take turns playing different instruments over the ten tracks, which helps keep this album from getting boring behind the three-singer rotation. While each track is distinct from one another, none of them feel as though they are a song that Rah Rah is going out of their comfort zone to play. Instead, this is an impressive album from one of Canada’s lone bright spots in the prairies.
— Nathan Ross
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two Soundtrack
It is an inexplicable phenomena that the soundtracks to the Twilight saga movies are loved by those who hate the movies so much, and the soundtrack for Breaking Dawn: Part 2 lives up to this. The compilation is filled with prominent indie artists like Feist, St. Vincent, Passion Pit and James Vincent McMorrow. These artists are not all strangers to the Twilight franchise, but to keep things interesting they’ve also thrown Green Day in to the mix. The album is arguably the best thing to come out of the final installment of the film, as you can easily close your eyes and imagine that this is just a playlist that your hipster buddy put on your iPod in the hopes of elaborating to you why you don’t need to listen to pleb bands like Maroon 5. All in all, the strangely successful Twilight soundtrack saga ends on a high note.
— Nathaniel Rossman