Friday, July 31, 2009

Avett Brothers - Four Thieves Gone

More often than not you will hear me ranting about the effect Minor Threat had on rock n roll, how Fugazi's opening track on "13 Songs" is one of the best opening tracks of all times. I will ramble endlessly on how Refused's record "The Shape of Punk to Come" along with At the Drive in's "Relationship of Command" shaped the majority of up and coming popular music through the better part of the new millennium.

I am also well aware of the fact that I am getting older and pretty closed minded when it comes down to new music, getting out of the hole I have dug for myself is often impossible. Its not a purposeful thing by any stretch of the imagination just tied to the fact that I am burnt out on music. I spent the better part of 15 years in bands, playing shows, employed as a sound engineer. I have seen more rock concerts in my 20's than most high school graduating classes will see collectively.

Which brings me to something new at least to me that has caught my ear recently. I must preface this by stating that I was exposed to the Avett Brothers about a year ago when I went to a show with someone to see them, I had never really been introduced to them before this. It was a really fun show and the bands energy was infectious. Sadly every time I heard them on the radio or someone would play me a track here or there it just didn't have any real impact for me. I recently realized I broke my own rule of determining if I liked a band. I didn't listen to the whole record, I didn't let the artist express themselves how they chose. I let someone give me a preview, I let a DJ attempt to direct my attention. The problem with all of these things is I don't like singles and one hit wonders are than a three minute and thirty second pieces of fun to remind us of much simpler times in our lives.

Which brings us to "Four Thieves Gone", an amazingly diverse record, well written, perfectly executed and one of the better arrangements I have heard in a long time. The opening track, "Talk on Indolence" is an infectious charming high energy song that commands you sing along. It has all of the trashy rough edges to it that let you know this is something real produced by real people.

Each song paints its own beautiful picture, but as you listen to the record you realize that each songs lends itself to the next song, paving the way for the next brilliant moment in sonic expression. The entry into "Pretty Girl from Feltre" is an abrupt change from the song before it, yet it doesn't feel awkward or contrived. The song paints an amazing soundscape somewhere between depressed and reminiscent.

One of the things I really enjoy about the Avett Brothers is that someone in this band had to have grown up listening to punk rock or real hardcore music. "Colorshow" takes the sing along parts and the gang vocals from "Talk on Indolence" and steps it up to the point where I feel like I am listening to a cross between Elton John, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Suicidal Tendencies. They fuse all of these different styles together without sounding like some bad mesh between multiple genres, I know we all remember the combination of Rap and Metal......

The record beginning to end is arranged to be listened to as a record, something lost in most contemporary music. Some of the highlight tracks for me are "Colorshow", "Pretty Girl from Feltre", "The Lowering" and "Gimmeakiss". When I try and listen to these songs away from the rest of the record they lose something for me, so I highly suggest spinning it from front to back before you make your judgement.

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