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CD review: Avett Brothers, ‘I and Love and You’
CD review: Avett Brothers, ‘I and Love and You’

The Avett Brothers

I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers have been the best kept secret in American roots music for nearly a decade — until now.

The band’s partnership with Rick Rubin on its latest I and Love and You is bringing brothers Scott and Seth Avett and bassist Bob Crawford the kind of attention only working with the great bearded guru of American music can drive.

I and Love and You will stand up to the hype. Rubin has burnished the band’s sound but left it’s blend of country, bluegrass and rock mostly intact. The record sounds great with complex arrangements, more piano than banjo and an added depth through the use of strings, organ and backup singers than we’ve gotten before from the North Carolina trio (though we miss the banjo).

The brothers’ high harmonies remain along with their ever earnest approach. Rubin may have shaved a little too much grit from the band’s rough edges, but he has helped them achieve a record that might crest the new wave of Americana and earn some significant attention.

“Love” has several gears and could easily be divided into two playlists — party and pathos.

Crank up “Kick Drum Heart,” “Slight Figure of Speech” and “It Goes On and On” for a hearty helping of hooks.

Feel like contemplating deep thoughts or those problems of the heart? The Avett Brothers aren’t afraid to show a little emotion. Try “Incomplete and Insecure,” “The Perfect Space” or “Ill with Want.”

Chris Talbott, Associated Press