After last year’s studio venture to produce The Carpenter, The Avett Brothers said months ago they were so inspired that they were able to create enough material while recording their seventh studio album.
And a little more than a year later, they released Magpie and the Dandelion, their eighth studio album and their third working with producer Rick Rubin.
As someone who first discovered the Avett Brothers in 2009 when they released I and Love and You, I don’t have the same sentimental connection to their earlier work as many of the group’s fanbase does. That being said, I do hope this will be the band’s last album with Rubin. The songs feel a little rushed and maybe not as well thought out, and I wonder how much of that was influenced by Rubin.
The Avett Brothers have improved with every single album they have put out. Each one shows that their instrumentation has become more polished and more clean-sounding. Their storytelling, which was already superb by the time Country Was was released, has only continued to be more impressive. They’re easily among the best storytellers in the music industry right now.
But it isn’t as much of an improvement as I’ve heard from album to album. This isn’t to say their sound and their songs have become stagnant, but I wasn’t as head-over-heels with this album as I have been in the past. The complete package of a song on this album still has the beautifully melancholic feel they’ve become known for, but the rawness behind the lyrics has gotten a little lost.
I’m in agreement with most people about the album’s standouts being “Morning Song” and “Another is Waiting.” They’re the most recognizable in the Avett’s catalog.
But I think what I loved the most about this album was the integration of a live-track on the album. They are phenomenal as a live act, and their inclusion of that brilliance on the album was something special; it definitely made the album better than it would have been if it were just a studio track.
All in all, while it may sound a bit rushed and a little too polished in places, the Avett Brothers have once again put out another beautiful and somber album. Definitely a must-listen of the season.