The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 7th

Music Review: Mandolin Orange

Haste Make/Hard Hearted Stranger


Just so you’re not confused — yes, this is two albums. And yes, it’s one band. And they’re coming out at the same time. Try and keep up.


Mandolin Orange

Dive Verdict: 3.5 of 5 stars

It shouldn’t be too hard, because truthfully, Mandolin Orange still sounds exactly like Mandolin Orange. It’s a fresh crop of songs, and while it’s an ample supply, these tunes are clearly of the same ilk as .

The most impressive feat the two albums accomplish — besides a whopping 19 songs, none of them one-offs — is consistency. Mandolin Orange isn’t bending any genres, but what the music accomplishes is impressive nonetheless. There isn’t a single song here that sinks below the surface, and where standouts like “Haste Make” and “Next to Nothing” entrench themselves in your mind, looping like toy trains, that doesn’t subdue the efficacy and grit of the others.

This is an obviously unavoidably beautiful record, chock full of harmonies that can break your heart and mend it in a single measure, but that’s not all it is. Where other folk and bluegrass outfits are content to rest on old-timey laurels, Mandolin Orange tells stories that are at once dark and modern, permutations of the backwoods aesthetic on which the band likely grew up. Instrumentally, the duo’s no less adept, veering away from its previous efforts with a few well-placed — if very subtle — electric guitars.

This isn’t quite your grandfather’s back porch music, but he wouldn’t turn up his nose. On , there’s a graceful, effortless merger between past and present, tradition and progress. It’s music that just is — a series of heartbreaks and tall tales that don’t try too hard, and that’s a quality any true blue Carolinian can respect.

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