The Only Ones is the new EP by Californian indie-folk duo The Milk Carton Kids. They have followed their 2018 album All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn't Do, which saw them employ a full band, by stripping their music down to the bare essentials and thus going back to their roots - neatly arranged acoustic guitars and harmonies The Everly Brothers would be proud of.
Vinyl 10" £13.99 MCR00003LP
10" on Milk Carton Kids Records.
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I love albums with less than eight songs. Love 'em. They tend to be great. And it's such a cool move to only include a minimal amount of songs. I think back to that Kids See Ghosts debut album or Bowie's 'Station to Station'. It forces artists into a more direct mode of expression. Although the Milk Carton Kids aren't quite as good as Kanye or Bowie, their new (short) album 'The Only Ones' is still a beautifully concise exploration of gentle, wistful, simple folk music.
I say simple because the arrangements comprise mainly two guitars and Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan's gorgeous harmonies. There's lots of raw emotion on offer here. The pair sing things like "don't forget about me" and "I swear I can still hear you laugh". This record could easily sound a little hackneyed, images of hay-chewing dudes and dudettes perhaps springing to mind, but it is delivered so sweetly and without artifice that you can't help but fall a bit in love with it.
There's this lyric that runs "I'll bear my soul about the size of a pixel" which is one of those weird Dylan-esque images that doesn't really make sense, but does make sense, but doesn't really matter. Anyway, the Milk Carton Kids have given us a beautifully-rendered record that isn't the kind of barn-storming cacophany I will be listening to come what may this coming election night but might be the perfect soundtrack to the cold reflective morning that will still follow.
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