The Avett Brothers
are a good band. They pull from so many different styles of music, integrating elements of pop and country, bluegrass and rock into their music. Their live shows are hugely energetic community bouncefests, as the Brothers strike a quick connection with the audience. All that energy is difficult to translate to a recording, but the Avetts have managed to do just that with every disc they've released. I and Love and You
is a more polished, earnest departure. For the most part, it even works.
I and Love and You
is decidedly more mainstream-friendly than the Avett Brothers' previous records. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The Avetts rose to their current level of success by being delightfully and charmingly unpolished. There has always been a level of dusty honesty in their work, a sense that these were great artists unconcerned with making themselves palatable to the mainstream.
As their career has blossomed, however, they have done just that. Not through any artifice or intentional design. It's just a thing that's happened. Perhaps because they've become more familiar with their own capabilities as artists. No doubt I and Love and You will reach a new, wider audience than the band's previous discs have managed.
Highlights of 'I and Love and You'
Avett Brothersphoto: Karl Walter/Getty Images
Unquestionably, the best moment on this disc is album opener and title track "I and Love and You" (purchase/download
) It's a solid, personal song about struggling with one's own identity and place in the world. Next is "January Wedding," a terrific little love song.
"And It Spread" is one of several moments on this disc where they seem to be channeling the Beatles. Here, the recording captures that raw live energy the Avetts bring so well to the stage, departing from the introspection which so colors the beginning of the disc. "The Perfect Space" is second only to the title track as a standout tune. It does so well what the band does best - following the song rather than any particular mood they're trying to convey, or any specific style.
The Bottom Line
Long-time Avett Brothers fans may notice a clear difference between I and Love and You and the band's previous records, but it's not likely to be enough to turn them off. In fact, this is a very good record and sees the band making some of the best music they've yet to record. That it comes in more lush arrangements, a more polished aesthetic, and somewhat more pop-oriented tunes is overshadowed by the fact that each listen reveals new levels of artistry.