Friday, July 9, 2010

Carbon Leaf-Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat

By Nick
During a recent trip to Little Rock, the proprietors of this blog were able to enjoy the many benefits of travel. Texarkana's stagnant air, squalourous living conditions, and lack of record stores make it the perfect place to get away from. But here, in the highlands of central Arkansas, Hastings is just a few exits away, and the record stores flow with milk, honey, and cheaply priced CDs.

I picked up Carbon Leaf's CD Love Loss Hope Repeat for two dollars at the abovementioned store. I had heard good things about them from Laura Ingraham, (usually a good judge of music), so I decided to pick it up. I do not regret it.

Carbon Leaf's style could be described as guitar-centric pop, or rock without distortion. The guitar plays a moving line instead of traditional rock power chords. The vocals take a bit of getting used to (Their singer has sort of a weird half-British accent), but other than a bit of talking on the title track, its decent.

The opening track, "Learn To Fly", does what an opening track should: it showcases the artist's style without being overly long. The next song, the title track, is a fun pop number that for some reason in my mind associates itself with shopping for antiques in some town in Arkansas. All randomness aside, it's a solid song, other than the bit where the singer says "Take a walk downtown" in an odd talking voice. I guess its just to remind us that, other than Aaron Weiss, singers should sing, not talk.

The band goes for a harder edge in the intense "Under The Wire", picks a little mandolin in "Royal One", and delivers a great pop song in "A Girl And Her Horse", which should be all over the radio. The songs are upbeat, and you'll be singing along with the choruses the first time you listen. The biggest surprise, though, is the ballad "The War Was In Color", a song from the viewpoint of a grandfather telling his grandson about his experiences in the war. It's an incredibly well-written and moving song, yet it doesn't feel out of place among the songs about girls. After the set-piece, the album closes out with "Bright Lights" and "International Airport", two appropriately happy songs to keep the album from ending on a dark note.

Carbon Leaf's music feels like you've heard it before. Every song is radio friendly without being some sort of electro-pop nonsense, and the lyrics are solid. For great music to listen to over and over again, in the car, in your house, or incarcerated (we hope not), check out Carbon Leaf.

And also be sure to buy Carbon Leaf Cereal-part of this balanced breakfast!


  1. Wow! I'll look them up! I'm always looking for new and good music! Thanks for all the reviews and insight.

  2. I picked this CD up a few years back and my wife and I enjoyed it on some long car trips...great driving through the country music.

  3. @ Caleb. I think the same thing.

  4. @ Braden: I'm always looking for new and bad music.