Returning home can be the most rewarding and reflective of journeys, as it’s often a means of coming full circle. On Home, the third album from North Carolina’s Midtown Dickens, one will discover there are an infinite number of ways to return, and like the songs on the album, each of way is nostalgic and comforting by its own measure.
What started as the duo of Catherine Edgerton and Kym Register, Midtown Dickens has expanded to a lush quartet on the latest album, thanks to the multi-instrumental additions of Will Hackney of Trekky Records and Jonathan Henderson.
DIVE VERDICT: 3.5 OF 5 STARS
Home exhibits a more mature, complete sound, as many of the songs are amplified in their depth and fully developed as folk numbers.
Equal parts simple and foot-stomping folk, Home is a delicate balance of stylings that grow on the listener when rendered on repeat. From the bouncy “Crocodile Mile” to the gently haunting “Apple Tree,” the album’s wistful themes and warm feelings are the perfect complement to the North Carolina spring and soon-to-be summer, with soaring vocals, twinkling percussion and twangy strings.
“Only Brother,” the album’s first single, still features Midtown Dickens’ penchant for quirky lyrics, in this case, animal imagery like “the dog was a wolf who chewed his leg in the trap.” But combined with a smooth blend of folk and bluegrass, the song is anchored by pleasing guitar rifts and Edgerton’s vocals, which reach real emotional depth.
While the album maybe be initially hard to distinguish among the plethora of folk-influenced bands that are rooted — and those that have sprouted — in the Triangle, Home manages to shine in its own ways.
At times the album is stripped down to the point where some of the elements of folk are barely audible, but somehow that’s what becomes most notable. Midtown Dickens has grown to produce a pleasantly cohesive and accessible album, mostly because these are the true songs of home.
And for now, it’s the ideal time to return to them.
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