Carpenter - Law of the Land (Cover Artwork)


Carpenter: Law of the LandLaw of the Land (2008)
Smallman Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

One supposes that a band comprised of season veterans should automatically produce something of quality, but that isn't always the case. Maybe that's why I didn't immediately jump at the idea that former members of By a Thread, Daggermouth and Speaking of Heroes had banded together to form Vancouver.

One supposes that a band comprised of season veterans should automatically produce something of quality, but that isn't always the case. Maybe that's why I didn't immediately jump at the idea that former members of By a Thread, Daggermouth and Speaking of Heroes had banded together to form Vancouver "farmcore" act Carpenter.

Shit. If I knew how good Law of the Land would be at times, I probably could've cleared two and a half meters.

Carpenter's Law of the Land reminds me a lot of Attack in Black's lauded 2007 effort, Marriage. Like Attack in Black, Carpenter combine the emotion of great punk influences from the past 15 years with the bold, brash feel of Americana rock. The crux of Carpenter and their debut is that vocalist/guitarist Dan Sioui has an enthusiastic and unironic love for John Cougar Mellencamp's 1982 album, American Fool, the last album released by Cougar under that name. While Law of the Land doesn't immediately evoke any sort of comparisons to the Coug, there's a certain element underlying much of the album that gives the reference some footing. But what drives it even further is how earnest Sioui and company sound while lamenting the troubles of the independent Canadian farmer.

Quite a bit of emo(tional punk rock) inspiration is being clearly filtered through. It's hard not to hear Braid inspiring some of the guitars and gang vocal chants in opener "A Different Life," though when it's followed by a complementing brass section, you know the band isn't relying upon singular influences. The glorious chorus of "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down" rings with the clean heart of Epitaph-era Hot Water Music. The huge, jangled chorus of "Off the Road" is arena big, and could easily be receiving some radio play, college or otherwise. "Don't Go" musically bounces with Texas Is the Reason-style vigor. The second half isn't quite as memorable or engaging, but "Help Me Out" provides a welcome moment.

Law of the Land doesn't quite live up to the expectations laid by its first few tracks (or the songwriting on the aforementioned Marriage), but it's nonetheless an impressive, honest and feel-good release that's as solid a debut as they come.

You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
Off the Road


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
fatbrendan (September 7, 2008)

I can't get the All State Champion comparisons out of my head when I listen to this, but that has more to do with the fact that Daniel Sioui was the vocals for ASC, although there are definitely riffs throughout the album that bring back the influences.

Amsteel (June 23, 2008)

Wow, thanks for the indirect Our Mercury recommendation. Listening now, they're really good. /endiscussionasthisisanunrelatedreviewpage

This site could use a PM feature.

LORD-OF-THE-GAYS (June 23, 2008)

I agree with you, it's just a pet peeve of mine. It does these bands more harm than good I think. There was another smallman release that did the same thing, Our Mercury, where it was a fantastic record and they promoted it like "Motown influenced soul with a hint of punk rock". The fucking record sounds like Hot Water Music. It just comes across as pretentious and trying way too hard for my liking.

It's like the time I saw Terror and the singer was trying to show off about how "diverse" his tastes are, something like: "I listen to all sorts of music at home, everything from agnostic front to sick of it all to converge to pennywise". And it's like, wow, what a real stretch, you're a real visionary. Just shut up and play your shitty hardcore.

Amsteel (June 23, 2008)

Lord of the gays:

I agree that they overdo it, but I think they list them as more of a joke reference than a serious one. They're just trying to say that they're a bunch of farm boys who try to play punk rock. But even that is, admittedly, a strange marketing technique.

Nonetheless, I'm a fan of music, not band ethics, and this is fucking good music.

And trying to be humble farm boys beats trying to be a depressed 20 year old suburban loser any day of the week, so that already makes them better than 99% of new bands of the past 5 years.


LORD-OF-THE-GAYS (June 23, 2008)

This record is actually quite good, but these guys are guilty of doing that insanely irritating "sales technique" (i use that term loosely) where they basically try to show off how diverse their influences are, yet the band sounds nothing like it. All I read about these guys is that they are the biggest fans of John Mellencamp and that they're a living tribute to the guy. Well first of all these guys sound NOTHING like John Mellencamp (thank god) and second of all, how is that even remotely a good idea to promote that you sound like that guy, especially when you sound closer to a band like Small Brown Bike or something. We get it, you're so musically refined, you won't be trapped by the walls of punk rock, but you know what, how many people got turned off instantly by that lame attempt to be different? Stupid. I guess I can't be too shocked that this idiocy came from the minds of people from Vancouver. Anyway, this is a good record, worth checking out.

Trauma16 (June 23, 2008)

Saw these guys play with strike anywhere and this is a standoff last week. They were pretty good live, i personally got more of a moneen vibe off their music then an attack in black vibe.
Good album nonetheless.

R3vengeTherapy (June 22, 2008)

With a comparison to Attack in Black, I'm going to have to listen to this. I don't expect it to be anywhere even remotely close to the quality of Marriage, but I'll have to check it out anyway.

Score is for Attack In Black's Marriage, which is one of the best records I've ever heard.

TROOF (June 22, 2008)

Yeah dude, it was a joke.

Amsteel (June 22, 2008)

Won't let me reply directly to his comment, but whoever asked about why PUNKnews would review a "Carpenters" album is an idiot.

This band is CARPENTER not CarpenterS, so read before you make yourself look stupid.

Oh, and this is one of my favourite albums of the last two years.

nocigar (June 21, 2008)

had to check this out because of the Marriage comparison. I like it, obviously not as much as Attack In Black..but it's really pretty damn good.

jzero666 (June 20, 2008)

I really dig this record. They wear their influences on their sleeves, but all those influences are really good, so it's kinda' alright.

TROOF (June 20, 2008)

I can't believe PUNKnews would review a fucking Carpenters album.

SloaneDaley (June 20, 2008)

dunno what I've heard hasn't left me impressed, I guess I don't like the guy's voice that much. tis a shame I haven't been digging as much homegrown stuff this year.

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