Avett Brothers strike gold
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 23:09
I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t like country music. Every facet of country music frustrates me, from the generic acoustic guitar parts to the vocals and the content of the songs. Maybe it’s because I have no “American Soul,” or maybe it’s because I was raised on classic rock and roll and country just feels too soft on my ears. However, things considered, I’ve actually discovered that I love country inspired music such as the Avett Brothers or the Decemberists.
Most people find this hard to believe, but just hear me out; country-inspired music is experimental and exciting. It transcends regular country music by adding an unexpected twist where a listener least expects it. This September’s “The Carpenter”, released by indie folk gods The Avett Brothers, is a perfect example of country flavored indie rock to satisfy any appetite.
The album, like the six preceding it, uses traditional country and folk style as its backbone, but adds a dash of jaunty alternative rock into the mix. The result is a 12-song album that keeps the listener interested throughout. Each song has a unique flair to its vocals, instrumentals, and beat. The track “Live and Die,” for example, draws upon a childlike rhyme scheme, banjos, and minor key changes to produce a startling poignant song about love and moving on. The song bounces between tragic and jaunty, leaving the listener intrigued and fixated on its complexities. While “Live and Die” uses diversity within the song, many of tracks stick to a general scheme unique to the track, such as “February Seven.” This track is a good example of one of the consistently melodic and dulcet ballads that the album offers. The song uses a delicate xylophone pattern and the vocals and content are reminiscent of an old cowboy song that relaxes the listener, while still being excellent and engaging.
The song writing on the album is phenomenal with themes including, love, brotherhood, violence and death. The lyrics are relatable, with lines such as “live and die we’re the same, live and die you’re the same.” The poetry included in many of the songs, solidifies the Avett Brothers’ station in the highest echelon of masterful independent songwriters and musicians. While lyrics are always the most attractive part of a song to me, the instrumentals are also superb on the album. The band incorporates xylophones, cellos, violin, as well as the traditional banjo, guitar, and drums. As usual the vocal performances are superb, with backing vocals lending a hand wherever necessary. “The Carpenter” is an excellent soundtrack for autumn. It has the tried and true American folk style but infuses exciting diversions to keep the album contemporary and relatable.