Sea To Sky

Written by: TL on 01/05/2011 21:54:23

I've said something similar before, and I'll happily paraphrase myself again: When it comes to melodic, emotive punk rock bands, the world is subject to the same rule as house parties; there's always room for one more. If the world was my house party, however, "Sea To Sky" - the sophomore album by Vancouver-based quintet Carpenter - would not be invited on a wild card. It would be the guest of honour.

What else can I say about a record, that over the course of its thirty-three minutes manages to remind me of as many emo/punk rock greats as; Piebald, The Menzingers, Moneen, Scream Hello, Rancid, Hot Rod Circuit, Hot Water Music, Polar Bear Club, Weezer and...heck there are surely more, but I'm guessing you get the idea. Carpenter play fuzzy, no-frills punk rock, full of bright melodies, rough yet emotive vocals and small-band rhetorics.

Of course, there's nothing too novel about that at all, and the fact that "Sea To Sky" doesn't reinvent the wheel is probably one of the few things that will prevent it from becoming a modern classic. Because in all other aspects, it is the perfect manifestation of the genre, and more importantly, from end to end, it is catchier than the plague. Okay, so Carpenter are not above using tried and true elements, like traditional song structures and refrain-repetition - in fact I'm tempted to say their toolbox is limited to four chords, conviction and catchy choruses - but little does it matter when every single track is so full of passion and positive energy.

Actually, if you think about it, the fact that Carpenter are able to keep a jaded old reviewer like me interested for ten tracks in a row using only tried and true punk rock methods is only further evidence as to them having a sublime understanding of the dynamics of the genre, in the area where it borders upon emo and indie. An understanding that allows them to break off an album of almost exclusively up-beat material, and seamlessly throw in a convincing emo-rock ballad in the form of "Joan", in which singer Daniel Sioui lets his Rivers Cuomo-ish croon strain wonderfully on top of nostalgic guitars and subtle chimes, effectively creating a moment reminiscent of classic Jimmy Eat World.

This song only stands out for being remarkably slower than the rest though, because in terms of general song quality, there isn't really any difference. Whether you listen to one excellent cut, like for instance "Northern Exposure", or another, such as "I Put My Heart In Everything", or any of the remaining seven songs for that matter, each one is a guaranteed good time, as the album only seems to get more engaging and enjoyable with each song.

Anyway people, I think you understand by now that I am completely sold on this record. You could argue that giving it one of the highest grades is a bit of a stretch, considering the fact that the music is so relatively simple and unambitious, but what matters to me is that I only very rarely come across an album that makes me feel this good about every single song. I only really have two regrets before I grade this little bundle of joy: One is that it is from last year, so I won't be able to feature it on my Best Of list at the end of this year, and the other is that Carpenter don't have any more of it available for listening anywhere, and hence you guys have to trust me blindly when I tell you that this record is one you definitely need to get your hands on, unless you truly hate melodic punk and everything it stands for.


Download: Nothern Exposure, I Put My Heart In Everything, You Might Be Right
For The Fans Of: Piebald, The Menzingers, old Moneen, Scream Hello

Release Date 21.09.2010
Gold Stock / Paper + Plastick Records

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