By Ava Lichter
If you haven’t heard of the Avett Brothers, you’re not alone. Despite playing venues as big as the Barclays Center, they still consider themselves “songwriters that had to become musicians,” not professionals. The Avett Brothers, a folk rock band from North Carolina, released their 10th album, Closer Than Together, on Friday. It has all the hallmarks of a typical Avett Brothers album: harmonies, guitar riffs, and some cello action. The biggest difference is that it’s a political album, taking on the issues of gun violence and gender inequality. The Avett Brothers have been historically apolitical in their songwriting, so this is a big departure for them. They say they aren’t necessarily creating a protest album, but that their songs have been inspired by recent political events.
As much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think it really works. The lyrics sound more like a political essay than a song, with the political references coming at you with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The music is still pretty great but for me it simply doesn’t stack up to what I’ve come to expect from the Avett Brothers. The album covers a lot about America, our shady history as a nation, and all of the issues we have now. Don’t get me wrong, I get that America has a lot to unpack right now but I don’t entirely know that I wanted that unpacking to come from the Avett Brothers. In all honesty, my favorite songs on the album were the ones that didn’t reference politics. If you’re interested in the Avett Brothers, I would definitely recommend starting with some of their older albums. If you’re feeling upset about America and you want to be heard, give Closer Than Together a listen.
Rating: 3.5 Q-Tips
Favorite Track: “Better Here” (a sad bop)