The Milk Carton Kids (from the album The Ash and The Clay) - The Milk Carton Kids will get a lot of Simon and Garfunkel references. It is the sound of male voices locked in harmony, getting results that are beyond what can be accomplished by one voice singing. Milk Carton Kids use harmonies as one voice, Everly Brothers style.The Ash and Clay, follows a debut that the pair offered free on their website, logging over 110.000 downloads.
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have voices that become one, the vocals drift as twin streams of smoke gathering to rise as one into the sky. The Ash and Clay opens with acoustic notes spiriting through the air. The Milk Carton Kids sing with their united voice, letting the song weave a magical tale of steering by the stars to find a way home (“Hope of a Lifetime”). The Mild Carton Kids’ songs all seem to have a sense of wonder about them, a testament to the joy that the duo’s voices create. “Heaven” tells of promises made but not found, the lyrics raising questions as the voices lift up seeking answers.
There is a lot going on in this album, andThe Ash and Clay lets the guitars have their say, though they keep a low profile. The guitars’ tones are a very good complement to the purity of their voices. Kenneth Passengale plays a 1954 Martin and Joey Ryan uses a 1951 Gibson, making the guitar sounds sparkle with the echo of a thousand past notes. The guitars polish the vocals with feathery support. “Snake Eyes” has a slight gypsy feel to the acoustic rhythms; “Promised Land” comes in close and intimate for a confession, and “Whisper in Her Ear” speaks loudly with a hushed warning to stay aware and appreciate what really matters.
The Milk Carton Kids tend to deliver their songs with a quiet power. There are moments of acoustic frenzy on The Ash and Clay and “Honey Honey” can barely contain itself as the guitars do their best to become a string band and the story line lets Honey know about his/her honey. There is a softness to the tunes gathered, though it does not make the music relegated to an easy listening status. The Milk Carton Kids deliver music that is comfortable and friendly. DANNY McCLOSKEY/RA