Carpenter - Sea to Sky (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Sea to Sky (2010)

Gold Stock

Carpenter's front-loaded 2008 debut Law of the Land was a mostly excellent exercise in melodic, heartfelt punk with a wild jubilance and special characteristic coloring the band's blend of Hot Water Music and Texas Is the Reason-peppered punk: The band really loves both John Cougar and farming. And never once did it feel like gimmickry. It's a pity the band didn't tour much on the record (at least down here in the States), because their live show is a loose, absolutely joyful performance (with more high leg kicks than a Rockettes show). Still, the band returned last year with Sea to Sky, an admirable followup that retains the band's hallmark traits well enough.

Listening to Sea to Sky, Law of the Land admittedly still has the best songs in the band's canon. Their melodies and general sense of composition feel more streamlined and straightforward here, and consequently, things aren't quite as dynamic. But that also means that the album feels a little more consistent from front to back than Land.

Still, there are highlights. The down-home tinge of the strained "Just Another Friday Night" is an early standout, while there's a brief, clutch sing-along part in "Long Hard Day". There's a fast jangle to "Separate", and "Joan" is a slow, chugging ballad of sorts. "You Might Be Right" has more of that restrained type of rambunctiousness the band do so well, plus Daniel Sioui's labored, scratchy yelp delivering the hook adamantly. Closer "I Put My Heart in Everything" is a little frustrating since it doesn't have that real sense of conclusiveness to it, but it's a solid song on its own.

Sea to Sky doesn't take a huge leap forward for Carpenter as fans might have hoped from the once promising band, but it's by no means a step back, either. The band's innate sense of joy and melodic abilities have remained mostly intact, and that's enough to make Sea to Sky an enjoyable sophomore effort.

Sea to Sky