I AND LOVE AND YOU by the avett brothers

by Gordon


Pitchfork: 5.8         Rolling Stone: 3.5/5         Metacritic: 77         Spin: 3.5/5


Released: September 2009
  1. I And Love And You
  2. January Wedding
  3. Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise
  4. And It Spread
  5. The Perfect Space
  6. Ten Thousand Words
  7. Kick Drum Heart
  8. Laundry Room [LISTEN]

  9. Ill With Want
  10. Tin Man
  11. Slight Figure Of Speech
  12. It Goes On And On
  13. Incomplete And Insecure

   Rolling Stone magazine dubbed The Avett Brothers “the Artist to Watch of 2009”. Unfortunately I didn’t get the memo until late in the year, and since then I’ve been trying to catch up. As with most bands that you fall in love with, it first started with falling in love with one of their songs (the song was from Emotionalism, their previous studio album…review to follow). This, at least, signified that the band could “wow” me, but how many more times would it happen? By the time I got to listening to the new I and Love and You, it had happened enough to solidify their place as a favorite.

   The album opens with the title track, a song that quickly became my most played song of Fall ’09. It’s a beautiful piano and string ballad with a great melody made more great by spot-on harmonizing by both brothers (and there’s also something really amazing about the words “i and love and you” together). “Laundry Room” is another mostly soft gem, the first three and a half minutes of which again showcase great harmonies and lyrics (Scott pleads, “teach me how to use the love that people say you make”). The last minute and a half showcase the other side to the band as they bang away on their banjo and guitar in a country-style folk rockout.

   The “double treatment” shown to some songs is also evident in “The Perfect Space”, another track that is one part slow ballad, one part fast and fun rock piece. Other songs like “Ten Thousand Words” stick to the safe, acoustic formula, where organ or strings sometimes compliment, and the solos come in the form of intense guitar- or banjo-picking. Then a catchy piano-driven song like “Kick Drum Heart” will come around with upbeat percussion and harder, sometimes even screaming vocals.

   It’s hard to argue that any of the album’s thirteen songs are bad, although a handful certainly seem stronger than the rest. And you’re bound to find at least one song that alone makes it worth paying full price for the real thing at a store. Looking at the Avetts’ progression from album to album, it’s easy to see that they’re consistently growing, yet consistently maintaining their sound, and far from going in any wrong directions. I can only wait for the next, but in the meantime, they’ve given me a large discography to wrap my head around first.

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