Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Calling
Folk-pop so tasteful itâ€™s almost not there
The title track of Mary Chapin Carpenterâ€™s ninth studio album finds the singer taking aim at the â€śholier-than-thouâ€ť political forces who claim God is guiding their cause. But while her intent may be to excoriate, her feathery vocal approach and well-polished folk-rock style take much of the sting from her message. Itâ€™s this flawlessness of execution that ultimately proves the discâ€™s greatest flaw, with well-crafted tunes passing pleasantly, though not always memorably. One of the exceptions is â€śHouston,â€ť a sensitive lament for New Orleans delivered with raw immediacy and powerful lyrical detail. Elsewhere, the sweet rhapsody of â€śTwilightâ€ť and the melancholy of â€śLeaving Songâ€ť are pretty moments, but they donâ€™t feel particularly special. Though much of the blandness can be attributed to Matt Rollingsâ€™ MOR production, one is left wishing an artist of Carpenterâ€™s considerable talents would eschew the aural dreck and truly shine.