By: Emily J Ramey
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
The title of the newest Avett Brothers’ album seemed a little nonsensical at first, then I listened to “I and Love and You,” and the meaning, striking and sentimental, became clear and admirable. With one line, I understood The Avett Brothers to have assembled another exceptional body of work: “Three words that became hard to say/I and love and you.”
The stand out tracks on I and Love and You aren’t clustered at the beginning of the album, which too often is the case, but spread graciously from beginning to end. The title track could probably be considered the best song about Brooklyn in recent history; “January Wedding,” should be restricted to front porch performances with its old school bluegrass simplicity, honest and sweet with lyrics like, “No longer does it matter what circumstances we were born in/She knows which birds are singin’/And the names of the trees where they’re performin’ in the mornin/And in January we’re gettin’ married;” and “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” possesses a beautiful dichotomy between the smooth, graceful piano and violin melody and stony, seasoned vocals.
“The Perfect Space” is classical and poetic, with poignant lines like, “I wanna fit in to the perfect space,/feel natural and safe in a volatile place./And I wanna grow old without the pain,/give my body back to the earth and not complain,” with a peppery change of pace midway. “Kick Drum Heart” is a throbbing new tune, its accompaniment, with quirky piano and percussion combination, sounds like a Regina Spektor song, if I didn’t know better. Instead, The Avett Brothers raise her one with their alternate scream vocals and brotherly harmonies. “Slight Figure of Speech” is Beach Boys meets The Clash, and “It Goes On and On” is a little bit Elton John and a little bit The Shins, but mostly just catchy as hell.
I and Love and You is a fabulous compilation of everything we knew The Avett Brothers do best, and some exciting new things we didn’t know they were capable of, with their courageous broadening of horizons. The Avett Brothers are new to national fame, but no one deserves to explode into musical rock-stardom more than they do. We all need a little more bluegrass in our lives.
Emily J Ramey is a burgeoning young music writer, living and working in Nashville, TN. Her background includes journalism classes at New York University and a Music Business degree from Belmont University. Check out her blog at listenerextraordinaire.wordpress.com.
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