The Avett Brothers: True Sadness

avettThe Avett Brothers
True Sadness
(American Recordings/Republic Records)

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North Carolina folk rockers have spent ages and albums establishing themselves as ones to watch on the scene. With True Sadness The Avett Brothers aren’t reinventing the wheel, but they manage to walk the same path without.
Many of the tracks on True Sadness are the sort of folk that veers into almost country territory. Album opener “Ain’t No Man” is a little cheesy, but there’s an undeniable spirit of overcoming obstacles that is admirable. Likewise, “Smithsonian” details lessons that people learn through life, such as “life ain’t forever and lunch isn’t free.” “Divorce Separation Blues” sounds uplifting with its banjo and yodeling, but the lyrics belie loneliness and isolation under the surface.
A few tracks manage to break through the pattern to stand out. “No Hard Feelings” deals with divorce, but the quiet, subtle song seems fitting to the serious subject. Closing track “May It Last” features an Asian-tinged violin riff and some psychedelic guitar. Indeed, this song sounds somewhere between Abbey Road Beatles and Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd. It’s a fascinating departure from the rest of the album and a decisive song to declare that these songs of mourning the end of a marriage will be left behind for moving on.
True Sadness feels more like a connecting thread than anything else. While it maintains the sound that has served The Avett Brothers well in the past, it’s clear from “May It Last” that they have so much more up their sleeves. If their next record is as big as this final track, then I look forward to the bright future ahead.
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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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