‘The Avett Brothers’ – New Album Review
UPDATED: May 17, 2024
UPDATED: May 17, 2024
The Avett Brothers

Seth and Scott Avett, better known as The Avett Brothers, return with their long-awaited 11th album, the self-titled The Avett Brothers. The duo, with the continued help of producer Rick Rubin, delivers a 9-track exploration of themes like sincerity, love, regret, and thankfulness. This emotional depth is characteristic of the modern-day Avett Brothers. Once a rough and rowdy roots band, they have now carved out a niche with harmony-laden tracks that fit well within the indie-pop adult contemporary genre…or an easy-listening Barnes and Noble playlist.

While this may sound critical, it is not intended to be. The Avett Brothers have clearly established a signature sound with Mr. Rubin, and it has stood the test of time. They do something very specific, and they do it damn well.

Highlights

The album explores an array of sonic landscapes, with several tracks featuring surreal, dream-like states, where tones and reverb blanket the backdrop. The opening track, Never Apart, sets this standard with a “Vocal Prelude” of harmonic humming between the two brothers.

However, it is in Cheap Coffee where this dream-like exploration truly takes root. The track, lasting a remarkable 7:08 minutes, sounds as if it were recorded in the depths of a vast cavern. Its tone reverberates somber and sweet at times, yet unsettling in others. Even after multiple listens, the meaning remains somewhat ambiguous, perhaps intentionally so.

Overall, it finishes as a bittersweet love letter, chronicling a man’s journey through family and romance. The distant vocals, eerie keyboard and electronic tones create an almost sleepwalking sensation. The track closes with what seems to be a sincere conversation with Scott’s child, deliberately altered to evoke angst and introspection. Flowing in the style of some artsy Lana Del Rey tune, Cheap Coffee emerges as a standout track.

More Standout Tracks

The beat drops abruptly and harshly on Forever Now, as The Avett Brothers once again explore existential angst with a somber, easy-listening pop tune. The song features a groovy, 80s-esque classroom keyboard solo perfectly complementing the smooth melody. Depending on whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type of person, your view of this tune may differ. Many listeners find Forever Now to be an insightful and sincere reflection on the lives of those who have passed on, offering solace in its message. Perhaps im too much of a dullard to grasp the weight of its lyrics, but there’s no denying the sincerity in its nature, making it a beautiful standout track.

Country Kid reintroduces Scott’s sweet banjo in a fast-paced song that harkens back to the Avetts of yesteryear. Grounded in traditional country, the track is driven by intertwining bass and drums. It’s a welcome change of pace with an infectious beat and melody, telling a whimsical story of us rough-around-the-edges country folk, and our backwoods upbringing.

My personal favorite track on the album is Orion’s Belt, rooted in traditional country, both in instruments and lyrics. Melodically, it is probably the strongest on the album, featuring a damn fine fiddle break that glues the verses together. Orion’s Belt conveys the idea that everyone thinks they have the answers, are looking in the wrong places, or that the answers are just out of reach—perhaps “beyond Orion’s Belt.”

TRACKLIST

01. Never Apart (w/ Vocal Prelude)
02. Love of a Girl
03. Cheap Coffee
04. Forever Now
05. Country Kid
06. Orion’s Belt
07. 2020 Regret
08. Same Broken Bones
09. We Are Loved

Final Thoughts

The Avett Brothers brings scincerity to a world in need. 

Overall, The Avett Brothers delivers exactly what fans crave—more Avetts. As I mentioned in the beginning, I personally miss the rowdy yellin’, out-of-tune banjo clanging, and the overall rough aesthetic that initially brought them to prominence. That said, I can never be mad at the Avetts. They were among the first to bring roots music to the mainstream masses without the help of big radio. With 11 albums under their belt, it’s inevitable that their sound would grow and evolve. When paired with Rick Rubin, the brothers have unmistakably developed a distinct sound.

Sometimes I wonder if the fault lies with me—perhaps they’re not making music for “me.” I often see hundreds of comments just like, “You guys have been an inspiration for emotional and spiritual growth in my life and therapy for the suffering of existence,” or “I think the world could use some new Avett Brothers songs right about now,” or “They make me cry, but they also make me hopeful and happy.”

All in all, no matter what I, or anyone else thinks about this album, The Avett Brothers continue to do what they do best: touch people and heal them in profound ways. Somehow, these two brothers have cultivated an audience that thinks of them not only as entertainers, but as family. They are never negative and always spread love and positive vibes. Behind their harmonizing lies a gleam of hope for millions of people. The Avett Brothers is another solid entry in their catalog and a step further towards a deliberate stylistic choice.

Is it for me? Well, I don’t think that really matters…. These guys are roots music GOATs, literally healing the world.

 

Album Release: May 17, 2024

Favorite Tracks: Orion’s Belt

RootsnRevelry Grade:                           

B-

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