There’s something special and uncomfortable about a departure release. What is deemed a career hiccup by diehard fans — a departure in style and sound — and captures the ear of the new, can be a risk well taken in the overall span of a career. The Beatles accomplished this departure swing with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, R.E.M. with Out of Time and James Brown with The Jungle Groove. The Avett Brothers’ latest and 10th studio release, Closer Than Together, is a tightly woven rollercoaster of the brothers’ tried and true lyrical genius with a mixed bag of sonic experimentation.
While some may review this album as a swing and a miss, it’s important to let this catalog marinate. With each listen, the instrumentation becomes brighter, the songwriting becomes more robust and the vibe amplifies their greatness.
The Avetts have never shied away from maintaining an unabashed and honest approach to delivering their hearts on a sleeve, and Closer Than Together delivers some of the best. Songs like “We Americans” and “Long Story Short” tackle serious introspective life-jaunts while “High Steppin” and “Tell the Truth” place accountability within the mind to the heart. Closer Than Together is refined brilliance and will be deemed the classic that established the anchor of The Avett Brothers’ longevity generations from now.
– Chris Rucker