Move over, Mumford & Sons. Make way, Florence + The Machine. There’s a new (but not so new) name taking center stage in folk music.
The Avett Brothers (literal brothers Scott and Seth Avett) released their seventh LP titled The Carpenter on Sept. 11. Despite this being only their second album on a major record label, The Avett Brothers have built up a sizable following in the folk/bluegrass music community.
Known for their tight harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and skills with stringed instruments (namely the guitar and banjo), the brothers are out to prove they can have just as much commercial success as they have had independently. If The Carpenter is any indication, that should be true.
Based on the sounds of their past records, The Carpenter is actually a bit of a shift. The raw, unpolished feel of their vocals is no longer present, but that doesn’t diminish the beauty of their classic harmonies. Scott and Seth’s voices complement each other like biscuits and gravy: unabashedly Southern and deliciously warm. Though there might be moments when one of the two strays from perfection, they are more than justified by the emotion that wells up within said moments.
As for the lyrical content, The Avett Brothers showcase their writing skills beautifully. There’s so much to be said for the lyrics there is only one proper way to experience them: to listen and interpret for yourself.
Musically, The Avett Brothers are as consistent as ever. The guitar and banjo are ever-present, complemented by brass, woodwind and percussion instruments of all varieties. Some songs are perfect for relaxing and thinking (“Winter In My Heart,” “February Seven”), while others are more suited for an afternoon drive with the windows down (“Live and Die,” “Geraldine”). Their sound is just as tight as their harmonies, leaving audiences with a sound that is both full and clean.
The Avett Brothers have proven they can win fans within the community of their own genre. The Carpenter shouldn’t change that at all. If anything, it should expand their fan base quite substantially. With this effort, The Avett Brothers have released an album that's equally rewarding for both longtime and new listeners alike.