michael gallucci

ALBUM REVIEWS

In album review on 08/31/2012 at 12:03 pm

The Avett Brothers

The Carpenter

(Universal Republic)

On their 2009 breakthrough album I and Love and You, North Carolina’s Avett Brothers abandoned their DIY roots, packed up their acoustic guitars and banjos, and headed to Rick Rubin’s Los Angeles studio, where the guru-like producer helped shape their most ambitious record. On the follow-up, the Avetts’ seventh album, they once again work with Rubin, who adds some heft to the group’s most personal set of songs. Musically, The Carpenter is a tough record, with Scott and Seth Avett’s tight harmonies, flickering solos, and occasional classic rock-style approach to folk music filling in the empty spaces. But on songs like “The Once and Future Carpenter,” “Live and Die,” and “February Seven,” the band recalls softhearted old-timers, getting all misty-eyed and mushy as they look back on love and life. It’s a midlife collision of their heads and hearts.

Matchbox Twenty

North

(Atlantic/Emblem)

Not much has changed for Matchbox Twenty since their last album five years ago, a greatest-hits set that included six new songs. They’re still pushing guitar-speckled mom-rock (the title of that 2007 release? Exile on Mainstream) and making major issues out of the smallest things. North is their first full album of new material in a decade, and they’re starting to show their age. Only the opener “Parade” and “She’s So Mean” stand out.

Dave Matthews Band

Away From the World

(RCA)

The last time Dave Matthews Band made an album, 2009’s somber Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King, they paid tribute to their late saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who passed away the year before. On Away From the World they return to the amiable but repetitive bro-rock of their early records, even calling back producer Steve Lillywhite, who worked on their first three LPs. Songs like “Broken Things” and “Mercy” sound ripe for onstage explorations.

Metronomy

Late Night Tales

(Late Night Tales)

Mixed by Joseph Mount, frontman for the British electronic quartet Metronomy, the latest Late Night Tales compilation throws together 20 songs – ranging from Outkast to Cat Power to Kate & Anna McCarrigle – for a super-chill set that doubles as a comedown from your after-hours clubbing. Most tracks are obscure enough to blend into their surroundings; only the Alan Parsons Project’s 1982 Top 5 hit “Eye in the Sky” disrupts the flow.

Raveonettes

Observator

(Vice)

A decade and six albums into their career, this Danish duo are still capable of learning a few new tricks. They add some piano to their usual reverb-soaked Jesus and Mary Chain-like guitar assaults on Observator, but this is mostly the same retro-leaning indie rock the Raveonettes have been churning out since 2003’s debut. Keep “Young and Cold,” “Observations,” and “She Owns the Streets” for your mix. Discard the rest.

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