Artist-to-Watch: Medium Build Is Cutting Thru the Noise With a Human Touch

Medium Build © Tyler Krippaehne
Medium Build © Tyler Krippaehne
Medium Build has long been a vessel of raw connection and uncompromising self-expression, catchy melodies and cathartic performances, with singer/songwriter Nick Carpenter bringing his unfiltered heart and soul to songs that “have a human touch,” in his own words. “Cutting Thru the Country,” the spirited third single taken off his fifth studio album ‘Country,’ is a dramatic and heated folk rock fever dream that sends shivers down the spine – reaffirming Medium Build as one of this year’s undeniable artists to watch.
“Cutting Thru the Country” – Medium Build

I go into every new year excited – not because I know what’s to come, but rather, exactly the opposite: Because I have no clue what’s in store for me. New songs, new albums, new favorite artists – they all reveal themselves in their own time, and I’m happy to share that I’ve found my “new favorite artist,” and he goes by the name Medium Build.

Active for the past nine years (hey, better late than never, right?), singer/songwriter Nick Carpenter’s artist project has long been a vessel of raw connection and uncompromising self-expression – wrapped in some insanely catchy melodies and cathartic performances. Through four-plus records and tours with Lewis Capaldi, FINNEAS, and most recently Holly Humberstone, Medium Build has brought his unfiltered heart and soul to the masses – and while statements like this always sound unnecessarily hyperbolic, his latest music really is some of his best.

Cutting Thru the Country - Medium Build
Cutting Thru the Country – Medium Build

Having released his first major label EP last year (the six-track Health is a tender, brooding, sun-kissed daydream worth everybody’s time), Medium Build is now on track to release his first major label album: Country is set to release April 5 via slowplay / Island Records, and will feature the stunning singles “In My Room,” “Crying Over U,” “Cutting Thru the Country,” and “Knowing U Exist.”

Technically his fifth studio album, Country is filled with Carpenter’s “goddamn DNA” – he explains, “I wanted Country to have a human touch. I want Country to be something you love with and dance with and cry with and sleep with and lean into.”

In all honesty, I’d love to spend some time unpacking each and every one of Country‘s songs at some point – and I very well might! – but for my first time writing about Medium Build, I want to dive into “Cutting Thru the Country,” the album’s emotionally-charged third single, released back in February.

Country - Medium Build
Medium Build’s fifth album ‘Country’ is out April 5, 2024
Cutting through the country, on my way to you
Runnin’ out of Reds, comin’ up with truths
I’m cutting through a cornfield, talkin’ to myself
Hookin’ up with strangers, askin’ them for help
Waitin’ for forever, waitin’ for your call
I know it sounds crazy, we could have it all
If you needed someone, if you needed proof
I’m cutting through the country, I’m on my way to you

A dramatic and heated folk rock fever dream, “Cutting Thru the Country” is a spirited, sweltering release of pent-up energy, inner tension, and fiery emotion: Carpenter churns and charges his way through three intense minutes of chorus-less reckoning, singing about cross-country drives (several of which he took during the making of this album) and all the heavy, inescapable thoughts and feelings that cloud the mind on those trips. Passion and urgency combine into a furious, visceral eruption as Medium Build goes big:

I’m cutting through the country, listenin’ for you
Someone I could trust, wishin’ it was us
Yeah, nothin’ lasts forever and everybody dies
I don’t wanna leave, unless it’s here with you tonight
And I’m pullin’ from a bottle, flippin’ on my phone
Lookin’ for a life, lookin’ for a home
Cutting through the country, call me when you’re up
Nothin’ lasts forever, but I’m not in a rush
cover art for Medium Build's song "Crying Over U"
cover art for Medium Build’s song “Crying Over U”

“In August, while I was driving from Alaska to Nashville, I started a little poem,” Carpenter says of this song. “I wanted it to feel like an Earl Sweatshirt song. Just bars, no chorus, no melody. We found an old keyboard and plugged it in. Found some wild tones and I did like 6 takes of the vocal. Probably the easiest tune we made on the album.”

That ease translates into an all-consuming experience as Medium Build dwells unapologetically in his depths, coming to an impassioned climax as he sings, “Nothin’ is forever and I don’t even know, that’s just how it goes, that’s just how it goes, people get sick, yeah, everybody knows, everybody knows, that’s just how it goes…” – a line that, without fail, always sends shivers down my spine.

Every day’s a movie and I’ve already seen
I’m cutting through the country, I might fall asleep
Wake up in a cartoon, fallin’ through the earth
Give me somethin’ real, babe, and nobody gets hurt
Ain’t nobody tells you how it’s gonna feel
You just get to get it, disappointment’s real
Slappin’ some piano, feelin’ like a chump
Cutting all the corners, you can’t skip lunch
Nothin’ is forever and I don’t even know
That’s just how it goes, that’s just how it goes
People get sick, yeah, everybody knows
Everybody knows, that’s just how it goes
Medium Build © Tyler Krippaehne
Medium Build © Tyler Krippaehne

The fun thing about discovering an artist a decade into his career is that there’s several hours’ worth of Medium Build music to dive into.

Nevertheless, there’s not a shred of doubt in my bones that “Cutting Thru the Country” is a very special song: An unrelenting explosion of angst, roaring vocals, and turbulent energy – with plenty of cinematic guitars and propulsive drums, to boot – that comes to life as a three-and-a-half minute cleanse; a freeing, white-hot release of all our stress, all that weight we’ve been carrying inside, and all those heavy emotions that don’t have an easy way out.

Sing this song at the top of your lungs, and I promise you’ll feel better. Medium Build can’t solve all your problems, but he can give you the cathartic release you so desperately need.

And everybody loves you, yeah, you’re the f*in’ boy
Get bent down, never hit the ground
Nothin’ is forever, nothin’ is for sure
And everybody loves you, loves to see you go
Oh, loves to see you go, loves to see you run
Loves to see if you, if you are enough, yeah
I’m cutting through the country, on my way to you
Nothin’ lasts forever, but you already knew
I’m cutting through the country, on my way to you…
I’m cutting through the country, on my wait to you…
Thinkin’ ’bout dyin’, thinkin’ ’bout us
Lookin’ for someone, somethin’ I can trust
Tryna find freedom, tryna find real
That ain’t how it goes, that ain’t how it feels
I’m cutting through the country

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:: stream/purchase Country here ::
:: connect with Medium Build here ::
Stream: “Cutting Thru the Country” – Medium Build

— — — —

Country - Medium Build

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? © Tyler Krippaehne

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