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Aaron Carpenter and The Revelators - EP Review: Roll with the Punches

20 Aug 2018 // A review by Peter-James Dries

The last bastions of real music in a world that celebrates mediocrity are the minnows swimming against the current of the mainstream.  

What is the mainstream nowadays? I haven’t listened to the voice of the people or vegetated beside the idiot box for a few years, but I don’t imagine the climate has changed that much with the continuing brain drain this Americanisation is fostering. Is it still entitled youths with laptops programming noise and mumbling?

I can take a stab at what it probably isn’t; groups with real instruments; people with a heavy heart, disenfranchised with society, with a voice and something to say; rebels who play what they feel, not what you know.

And on cue here comes Aaron Carpenter and the Revelatorsnow, with the group’s new EP Roll with the Punches. This is a group that ticks all the above boxes. Real instruments, something to say, and most definitely playing what they feel.

The voice of the eponymous Carpenter is the backbone of the album, strong, simultaneously gravelly and smooth, and with a strange hint of Joe Cocker. The music is riff and lick centric with a guitar centred on each channel, left and right, each with their own agenda, which adds a dimension a lot of contemporary Blues Rock groups lack. The female backing vocals are also something other groups are lacking, and the soft voice in an otherwise sharp environment is complimentary to the lead vocals.  

Stand out track for me is the third, Ballad of Red Sands, which ends the EP strongly. Heavier than the other two, there is a bit of playing with dynamics, with the meandering between loud and quiet, mixing the acoustic and the distorted. The song peaks with a blistering solo mid-way, coming back down briefly then ending on a high note.

Naysayers like me will claim there is no originality left in the music of the old world. We’re all walking on the backs of those before us. But you don’t listen to Blues Rock for originality. You listen to it for the vibe, for the familiarity. And because the noise this next generation consider music is inane rubbish.

But that said, the playing with the structure and genre, the mixing of the heavy and soft, and the experimentation sets Aaron Carpenter and the Revelators apart from other Blues revivals. I think the female backing vocals and the attention to the stereo mixing really adds something to this EP too.

The band’s very existence earns them 5 stars from me. It also helps that the music is good. The group have got a good sound going, and I look forward to where they take it.

Review written by Peter-James Dries


About Aaron Carpenter and The Revelators

Aaron Carpenter has a gift for articulating the plight of the downtrodden and misunderstood. A knack for stepping inside his fellow man’s boots and feeling the wear on the sole, the caked dirt between the treads, and the permanent awkwardness of the fit. This insight keeps listeners riveted throughout as The Revelators report back on the lot of small-town lifers, neglected love veterans, and the invisible homeless with both sympathy and a burning curiosity. By his own admission, the songwriter turns more inward and that means the blues, music he credits as “the commonest of human experience, perhaps the only thing that we all truly share.” If Carpernter is correct, the blues aren’t merely a condition but rather the human condition.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Aaron Carpenter and The Revelators


Pretty Lies
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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