Album Review

The Avett Brothers - The Avett Brothers

Ever dedicated to following their own path, The Avett Brothers have turned in a perfectly pleasant album garnished with bursts of their characteristic acappella.

Album - The Avett Brothers - The Avett Brothers
May 16, 2024 4:45 pm GMT

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The Avett Brothers - The Avett Brothers

Label: Ramseur Records/American Recordings/Thirty Tigers

Producer: Rick Rubin

Release Date: May 17, 2024

Tracklisting:

1. Never Apart (w/ Vocal Prelude)
2. Love Of A Girl
3. Cheap Coffee
4. Forever Now
5. Country Kid
6. Orion's Belt
7. 2020 Regret
8. Same Broken Bones
9. We Are Loved

If five years is a long time for a band to go between album cycles, then the five years that The Avett Brothers left between 2019’s Closer Than Together and their new, self-titled record offered up a veritable feast of songwriting material for the North Carolina brothers.

With a pandemic, political turmoil, culture wars and an entire catalogue of social unrest to play with, many might have expected them to continue the political commentary they wove into their previous effort, positively salivating at the sheer volume of fat to chew. Ever dedicated to following their own path, they have instead turned in a perfectly pleasant album that offers scant meat on its bones. Garnished with bursts of their characteristic acappella across nine tracks, there’s little to dissect or disagree with here.

What the album lacks in tangibles, it attempts to make up for in its creative use of tempo changes and vocal texture, capped off, as always, with superb vocal harmonies imbued with the magic of familial intimacy. ‘Never Apart’ delivers a touching ballad on the eternal bonds we carry with loved ones, marrying a distinctly noughties indie-folk feel with a dusky James Taylor vocal. We’re then launched into ‘Love Of A Girl,’ with its bolshy, mouth on the mic vocal and chorus-ending full stops of guitar. Songs like ‘Country Kid’ offer something to tap the toes to, whilst ‘2020 Vision’ makes crude wordplay out of the pandemic. It’s sweet and truthful, though romanticising the events of 2020 may be too much to stomach for some.

Time – its passage and wastage – is a key theme on the album, which inevitably opens the door for at least a whiff of cheese amongst its contemplations. The 7 minute-plus ‘Cheap Coffee’ offers an intriguingly brooding and stormy undertone, before slipping on its own sentimentality with its intersperse of audio about the discussion of infinity that lessens the track’s otherwise sobering impact.

Fans of The Avett Brothers will be happy to see them back, while those who are as avid a student of time as the duo themselves will be left hoping that they don’t have to wait another five years for something they can truly sink their teeth into.

6/10

The Avett Brothers’ 2024 project, The Avett Brothers, is available May 17 via Ramseur Records/American Recordings/Thirty Tigers.

For more on The Avett Brothers, see below:

Written by Holly Smith
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