Mar 01, 2011

I loved All State Champion (ASC), a Vancouver, BC, post-punk, and dare I say emo, band. Unfortunately, they broke up a few years back so I was stoked to see that Carpenter features vocalist Daniel Sioui from ASC. Carpenter still carries a lot of the same sound as ASC, too, but that’s to be expected since it’s primarily Sioui’s project. The songs are often romantically inclined, but much of the basis for the music and lyrics come across as being heavily influenced by Sioui’s love for John Mellencamp’s American Fool. Back then, he was known as John Cougar and the album provided us with hits such as “Jack and Diane” and “Hurts So Good.” Being from Indiana (Mellencamp’s life-long home), this album was right up my alley. Not only did it take my appreciation for Daniel Sioui’s voice but it intertwined it with my love of John Mellencamp. Songs like “Just Another Friday Night”—with its catchy choruses, back-up vocals, and use of slide guitar sound like a true reinvention of 1980s Mellencamp. “Long Hard Day” seems like another song from the Coug’s playbook, with its take on living the life of fun after a “long hard day” of doing something or other. I was too ensnared by the catchy hooks of the song to pay much attention to the detail of the lyrics. Of course, a song like “Joan” is a much more straight-up indie/emo tune with the mournful tale of trying to help out a friend. But that’s not to say it isn’t good, it’s just one of the few tracks to differentiate from the straight-ahead rock’n’roll sound the band typically evinces over the course of the ten tracks that comprise Sea to Sky. With Sioui’s great vocal range and the ridiculous catchiness of this album, this is surely its own version of a champion.

 –kurt (