The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
American Recordings, 2009
I heard the Avett Brothers for the first time about a week ago. Spacek put up the video for “Slight Figure of Speech” on Wayward Blog and I was hooked. Not just because the video is mostly the principal from Eastbound and Down riffing on infomercial salesmen with amazing success, but because the song was REALLY fucking good. I was expecting more banjos, I guess, or whatever it is I expect with “roots music” or any band that has -grass attached to one of their descriptors. Apparently these guys used to be looser, and more off the cuff, and since they've polished themselves up they've suffered. I can get behind that. Despite not having heard any of their earlier albums, this does sound too polished. However, I cannot stop listening to it.
The problem with listening to this a few times a day is that the record is just too spotty. There are a few jawdroppingly good tracks that I keep coming back to, like the title track, the gorgeous “January Wedding,” “Slight Figure of Speech” (natch), and “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise.” I wish there was another rocker, though, a la “Slight Figure of Speech,” because it's half a standout because it's a motherfucking barnburner and half a standout because it sticks out like a sore thumb. The first three songs on the record kill, but everything else wanders between pretty good and eh. Then there's “Kick Drum Heart” which just sounds corny and I'm wondering how someone like Rick Rubin let that one slip through. Maybe because Rick Rubin ruins records, I don't know.
Basically, there are some amazing melodies here and the range of influences is admirable and interesting and has sparked a sort of rootsy renaissance I've been going through, revisiting my Uncle Tupelo records and such. I think I like this so much because all the music that has been coming out this year that has been super hip hasn't really done anything for me, or I haven't been able to make any sort of connection to glo-fi, dream-skuzz, shitgaze, or whatever else is cool. I like that this record is markedly un-cool and despite it's unevenness has taken over my stereo and will probably continue to grow on me. Hell, it already is.
I really need to do a 6.5 drawn rating: