I picked this album up used, sort of on a lark the other day.
And I am damned glad I did.
There was a rather tedious profile of them in Paste magazine this month, but other than that I hadn't heard anything about the Avett Brothers. But the album is just fabulous. How to describe it? Imagine if the Beastie Boys woke up one day and decided that, instead of being a bunch of rappers from New York, they would suddenly become an alt-folk/rock trio from North Carolina. Imagine the Violent Femmes sitting around in a living room late into the night with, say, a banjo and a case of beer.
Their own bio says the band stems from the days when Scott and Seth (the two "Avett Brothers" of the band name. The third member is Bob Crawford) had a rock band, but Scott "began getting together with some friends and other flat-pickers on Tuesday nights in Greenville, NC to drink liquor, play acoustic bluegrass and country music, and occasionally perform on the street." Listen to the album and you'll understand why that sums up the band nicely.
The song-writing is sharp and clever. Sometimes it's raucus and funny, like "Talk on Indolence," which seems to be a recollection of an old relationship that was marked by lots of drunken fun, or "The Fall," a high-spirited song the band itself describes as being about death. Sometimes it's maudlin and reflective, like "Sixteen in July," about being young and free in the summer, or "Pretend Love," a strangely sweet song about a relationship built on a lie.
Through it all, the band throws in snippets of studio chatter, including an extended session at the end of the final track. And it sounds like they're having a hell of a lot of fun (and perhaps a fair bit of alcohol).
They've been getting some nice critical attention lately, as it turns out (I somehow missed all of it until Paste) and they are clearly headed for greater things.
I am dying to see these guys live. I'd love to hear how they sound with the Watson Twins behind them, but I'm not holding my breath.