album reviews

the Greencards
the Brick Album
Darling Street Records (2011)

Kindred spirits: Hem, Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek.

The Greencards have mastered their twangy take on easy listening on their fifth studio album, "The Brick Album." The Nashville-by-way-of-Australia group presents a blend of bluegrass and Americana that makes for a pleasant, if not terribly engaging, listen.

It's not for lack of talent, either — such instrumental tunes as "Adelaide" and "Tale of KangaRio" show off the group's technical proficiency. The former has a Celtic vibe while the latter has a darker, Brazilian feel, but neither song carries any real tension to grab a listener.

The rest of the album, with the addition of Carol Young's sweet vocals, fares little better. Each song does have its own sound — such as the plaintive "Faded," the pouty "Mrs. Madness" and the crooning "Loving You Is the Only Way to Fly" — but there's very little other than a pretty shimmer to make these tracks memorable. The closest the group gets is "Far From an Only Child," which finds Young with a smoky voice. The song has a dark, haunting feel that stands out against the rest of the album.

Ultimately, though, one memorable song and a band with obvious skills are not enough for the Greencards. "The Brick Album" sounds lovely, but its songs are unremarkable.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 19 August 2011
.: the Brick Album on