Love Loss Hope Repeat

Carbon Leaf

Vanguard, 2006

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


We have had to wait too damn long for this CD.

For those of you who missed it, Carbon Leaf has been making a serious claim to being the greatest American rock band currently recording for some time. They received multiple indie recognitions, and their debut CD Indian Summer was one of the best things I’ve ever heard and a past Album of the Year from yours truly.

They’ve taken their time with the follow-up, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Love Loss Hope Repeat, and the wait is almost completely worth it. LLHR is a brilliant, brilliant piece of work, wrapped in elegant, catchy harmonies and magnificent song-writing. The sound of the CD is spare and yet incredibly rich, with great production from longtime veteran Peter Collins (Rush, Elton John, Bon Jovi, others). Collins does have a very light touch on LLHR, which allows the texture of Carbon Leaf’s music to come through.

First and foremost, vocalist Barry Privett continues to be one of the most expressive singers recording today. His delivery is alternately detached and fervent, running the entire gamut of emotions inherent in the eclectic tones on LLHR. (Eclectic would indeed be the term. The band’s website lists Privett’s three favorite songs: Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair,” A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran,” and the Alan Parsons Project’s “Time.” Has this guy been raiding my record collection?)

The musicianship of Carter Gravatt and Terry Clark on guitar and mandolin, Jordan Medas on bass and Scott Milstead on drums is superb; every song has musical highlights that leave you scratching your head in wonder.

Those songs are the centerpiece of the work, and they do not fail to amaze -- with perhaps one exception; I suspect there’s something about “A Girl And Her Horse” that I just don’t get. Maybe it’s my gender (male). Past that, there are almost too many gems to count: “Texas Stars,” the title track, “Learn To Fly,” “Under The Wire,” “Comfort”… they’re all brilliant. Rising above that high-water mark, though, is the incredible “The War Was In Color.” There are very few songs that move me to tears. This is one of them.

You owe it to yourself to get a copy of Carbon Leaf’s Love Loss Hope Repeat. You’ll be glad you did.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2006 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Vanguard, and is used for informational purposes only.