Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Album Review: The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You

Only the truly special bands get the opportunity to work with musical legend and producer extraordinaire, Rick Rubin and The Avett Brothers are without a doubt one of those bands. They’re the type of group that you would love to keep your own little secret. You love seeing them in the smallest, dingiest of venues, but deep down you know they should and could be wowing audiences in stadiums all across North America and beyond. I and Love and You is the album that will be winning over legions of new listeners. Between the piano, strings and vocal harmonies of brothers Seth and Scott, the boys from North Carolina cut deep on their latest album. The title track cuts deep, with the strength of a Counting Crows ballad and the imagery of musicians who have clearly paid their dues on the road for far too long. While die-hard fans may be wondering where the Avett Brothers’ punky edge went, they have to look no further than “Kick Drum Heart”. This piano driven rocker features the Avett’s signature screaming that’s sure to surprise new fans and delight old ones. “Laundry Room” is the sleeper hit of the album. It starts off slow and ballad-like as Scott sings “close the laundry door, tip-toe across the floor” but gradually grows into an all out banjo-driven country rocker. The Avett's respond to the likes of two classic rock monsters on the acoustic guitar and organ driven “Ten Thousand Words”. They borrow both chord progression and rhythm that sounds strikingly familiar to both Zep’s “Your Time Is Gunna Come” and Traffic’s “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave”. In true mainstream fashion, Rubin has streamlined the Avett Brother’s signature sound. Gone is the rough, homemade sounding production of the past and prevalent banjo and strings. Instead we have slick pop songs paired with smooth harmonies, textured backgrounds and minimal banjo. Will I and Love and You ostracize old fans? I think it’s rather unlikely. The Avett’s have a loyal following that should be more than willing to share their once perfectly kept secret. Leave it to Rick Rubin to be utilitarian, spreading the joy that is the Avett’s music to millions, while spoiling the old secret for a select few.

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