Album of the Week: The Avett Brothers, 'Closer Than Together'


The Avett Brothers, 'Closer Than Together'
The Avett Brothers, 'Closer Than Together' (Courtesy of Republic)
Bill DeVille - Album of the Week: The Avett Brothers, 'Closer Than Together'
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The Avett Brothers released their first album 17 years ago. They've sort of become an elder statesman in the music world. These North Carolinians have steadily released an album every year or two since their inception. Seth and Scott Avett have become master craftsman at songwriting. They've generally written about things we all relate to like love and life itself.

The Avett Brothers 10th album called Closer Than Together. It was apparent early on that this was gonna be a different sort of album. Many of us were wondering what's up with the Avetts by the sound of the album's curious first single "High Steppin". The song is loaded with synths and keyboards and sounds decidedly more pop than they'd done before. Don't worry, they don't all sound like that. In fact, the album's first tune, "Bleeding White," is more of a straight up rocker that features an unlikely smokin' guitar solo.

It seems like the band is branching out both musically and lyrically. We learned early on via social media that they were going to do a more socially conscious album. The Avetts decided they couldn't just ignore whats going on in the world anymore. It's apparent when you hear the track, "We Americans," it's not hard to figure this one out with lyrics like, "I am the son of Uncle Sam and I struggle to understand the good and evil, but I'm doin' the best I can."

Maybe the most powerful song on Closer Than Together is "Bang Bang". It's a very bold tune sung by Seth Avett. This song has an old-timey silent black and white movie feel and features what sounds like a player piano as Seth fires off lines like, "Conceal & carry your fear / Don't need no weapons here" and "please turn it off / I'm tired of bang bang bang bang..." Great songwriters often have a feel for what we are all feeling.

There are still plenty of songs featuring that classic Avett sound. "Tell the Truth" features those blood harmonies and that gentle, easy-breezy feel as Scott and Seth sing, "tell the truth to yourself & the rest will fall in place." Sounds like some pretty sage advice to me. There are also a few lovely folk ballads on the album. Songs like "Long Story Short" and "C-sections and Railway Trestles," which is kind of a clever song about parenthood that'll make you smile.

It appears The Avett Brothers have plenty of songs up their sleeve. Closer Than Together might the most exciting album since their old hootin & hollerin' days!

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