The Milk Carton Kids need no electricity to make our hearts move, just an invitational ear.
8.8 / 10
Before listening to The Ash & Clay I’d never heard The Milk Carton Kids. Their harmonies brought up nostalgic thoughts of Simon and Garfunkel, which made me more than a little giddy upon my first listen. After doing a little research and backtracking I found their first two releases are free to download from their website.
The band is made up of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan. They used their full names for the first release, Retrospect, which is a live album. Their second album, Prologue was released later that same year and marked the first printing of the band’s proper name. Their newest album releases two years and a few tours later. It features a slightly more mature and technically proficient sound. Don’t get me wrong, those first two albums are a natural progression to The Ash & Clay, but this album just does everything better.
The song lengths have been shortened and keep the listener’s attention a little easier than on Retrospect. The vocal harmonies don’t rely on using the standard notes you’d normally attribute to country or folk music. The notes themselves seem to create new chords that lead us deeper into the meaning of the words these guys are singing. Everything they sing sounds close to their hearts. There’s next to zero percussion outside of the rhythm and timbre of their guitars. This leaves a big open area for audiences to clap along to at live shows.
Speaking of that, they’ll be starting to tour on this material in the next few weeks. I imagine these guys are a great time to experience on stage, so check them out at a venue near you if you’re able. The only negative thing I have to say about the album is that although there’s not a “bad” song on the album, the transitions between songs is a little rocky. I’m comfortable with songs changing from fast to slow, it just seems out of place until your ears adjust. Possibly a different order may have solved this problem, though the problem could actually lie in my own personal preferences.
Purchase: The Milk Carton Kids – The Ash & Clay