It should be easy to walk away from this album without a second thought. The over emphasis of the sonically irrelevant Afghan Whigs / The National connection in the albums’ press, the length of most of the tracks that usually hints at some sort of prog-rock knob-knobbery and even the length of the title, should assume a generally pretentious inclination.
Thankfully, after just the most initial of listens, the ‘should be’ of the opening sentence forces paramount significance. For the associations ascribed within the bigoted introductory paragraph above are entirely unfounded in this album.
Initially, the musicianship never becomes prog despite the length of the songs. Certainly tracks such as Patience and Make It Right (both below) are sprawling, however there is method to such extension which averts clutter by adding a consistent fuzzed out jangle to Belfast era Simple Minds and Philadelphia Springstein atmospherics. It creates true, alluring, beauty.
Secondly it is lyrically too simplistic to be considered pretentious. Despite the track elongation, every sparse jangled note and/or fuzzed gazed pop reccurence, provides a platform for words of love. Never gushing, without a rose in sight and with complete avoidance of overt slush, these songs of love are about the non-giddy benefits of loyalty, trust and support. They are words of long-term love rather than the usual fodder that concentrates of the capricioua swirl of early relationship emotion.
Perhaps the easy flow of the album and it’s lack of transcience in tempo / intensity could make it a body of work that you routinely turn to when you want to get lost in unchallenging beauty and although such an accolade in itself would be worthy, Carriers make certain that the ultimate byproduct is not merely comfortability. This is achieved by adding darker themes like grief and mental illness to tracks such as Heaven’s People and Daily Battle.
This album presents the listener with a dichotomy of choice. Luxuriate in the beauty of the music or address the the more obvious meaning(s) of normal life through the lyrics. Eventually the ‘grower nature’ of the album enables you to assimilate both choices with repeated listens and be totally surrounded by brilliance.