Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Milk Carton Kids Spin Sorrow To Gold In New Single ‘When You’re Gone’

Grammy-nominated folk duo The Milk Carton Kids have released their latest single ‘When You’re Gone’; it is sweet and sorrowful and a little slice of magic.

The Milk Carton Kids (a name based on the missing children postings you have on the side of milk cartons in the US) are perfect for lost souls. They are the slightly more sorrowful counterpart to Peter Pan’s lost boys, with all of the sweetness but a little less light. Their harmonies and soulful guitar blends feel, inexplicably, like coming home.

Consisting of bandmates Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, they describe their singing together as akin to falling in love at first sight. From the moment they first sang together, over ten years ago, they knew they had to continue down this path. And it’s a good thing they did. Between them they have crafted some amazing work, being heralded as the next big thing in a long line of amazing American folk artists.

When You’re Gone’ starts with an unmistakably country and American folk twang, pairing rhythm guitar and a banjo, offset by their beautiful harmonies. It is a song about heartache. Containing no malice or barbs, it speaks merely about what it is to miss someone, even if the hurt won’t last forever. There’s a sense of intimacy to the whole song; the voices are close and warm, there is a gentle ache to the lyrics.

The simple addition of the banjo elevates the song by miles and pairs beautifully with the lyrics: I am sitting in the midnight alone / can’t bring myself to pick up the ‘phone / so I’m picking through a banjo tune I learnt from you.

And while you can hear influences of Appalachian hill music, the Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel, among others, it has its own sound. Stunning simplicity is the name of the game. It would be a disservice to say there isn’t much to this song… perhaps in its lack of frills, however the track is masterfully crafted and heals from within.

When You’re Gone’ is out on all streaming platforms now and ahead of their next album release coming in spring 2023. Listeners should keep their eyes peeled.

Chloe Boehm


Image: ‘When You’re Gone’ Official Single Cover

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