The Milk Carton Kids are the kind of band you take home to meet your mom.
The LA-bred folk duo’s polite, restrained Americana approximates their musical touchstones—the Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. In the past, their close harmonies and intricate guitar lines formed beautiful, but delicate architecture that aimed for timelessness but often achieved forgettability.
Now the duo sound like they have some emotional dirt beneath their nails. The upcoming All the Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn’t Do album (out Friday, June 29) uses a full band, adding color to what used to be beige.
Even better, there is now a sense of urgency that removes opportunity for over-calculation.
Lead single, “One More for the Road,” is a ten-minute mini folk-epic with whispers of jazz and psychedelia. Where restraint was once a weakness, the countrified “Big Time” succeeds as mere threat to burn down the barn.
Since the release of breakthrough album The Ash & Clay, the band received two Grammy nods and won an Americana Music Association Award. One member broke up with his longtime girlfriend and underwent surgery for cancer and the other had two children.
Overcoming hard times has done this band good. Now a bit rougher round the edges, The Milk Carton Kids are still the kind of band you take home to meet your mom, but they sound like the kind of band you might invite up to your loft, too.
The Milk Carton Kids play The Commonwealth Room, Tuesday, June 26. Tickets available here.