12 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Reports that the acoustic-folk/Americana duo were recording their fourth album with the help of a full band may have led longtime fans to worry Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were beefing up their understated sound and aiming for some grand sonic gesture. No worry needed: There’s strings, pedal steel, the occasional percussion, and a slow-boiling 10-minute-plus opus, “One More for the Road,” but these stretches don’t overreach or risk upsetting a chemistry that has been working for seven years. Since 2015’s Monterey, Pattengale was diagnosed with and recovered from cancer; the songs here are understandably introspective, but they’re never maudlin.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Reports that the acoustic-folk/Americana duo were recording their fourth album with the help of a full band may have led longtime fans to worry Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were beefing up their understated sound and aiming for some grand sonic gesture. No worry needed: There’s strings, pedal steel, the occasional percussion, and a slow-boiling 10-minute-plus opus, “One More for the Road,” but these stretches don’t overreach or risk upsetting a chemistry that has been working for seven years. Since 2015’s Monterey, Pattengale was diagnosed with and recovered from cancer; the songs here are understandably introspective, but they’re never maudlin.

TITLE TIME

More By The Milk Carton Kids