While a magnum opus would be compelling, The Carpenter’s slight inward turn and few great songs may be enough for now.
The Carpenter provides a return to rudimentary Avett songwriting, in that the most striking moments on the record are born from playful banjo-guitar banter and confessions revealed in 4/4 time.
While the album does weigh heavily on its dark themes - possibly too much so at times - The Avett Brothers have never sounded better than they do on The Carpenter.
Many of the band’s best moments have been quieter ones, and The Carpenter finds a nice balance between introspective and raucous.
Rubin may be a wizard in the studio, but his involvement has fostered a truly remarkable level of bloat in this once bare-boned, focused band.
Maybe their newfound familiarity with the black cloak has pushed them to a more relaxed, straightforward sort of songwriting.
The Avetts are clearly happiest when they’re miserable. Which is fine, if you’re in that kind of mood.