NEW RELEASE OF THE WEEK: THE AVETT BROTHERS' 'MAGPIE & THE DANDELION'

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Coming out of the same Rick Rubin-produced sessions as [The Avett Brothers’] last release, it’s understandable that Magpie and The Carpenter are somewhat similar in sound and tone. However, don’t think of these tracks as a collection of B-sides or numbers that were cast off from The Carpenter’s workbench. Like most of the band’s previous work, Magpie and the Dandelion continues to explore time-honored themes like love and loss in all their many forms. But where The Avett Brothers of records like Emotionalism or I and Love and You often seemed emotionally overwhelmed by the gravity of the issues they sang about, on Magpie the brothers seem a little more confident. It’s a transition that can be clearly seen over the course of the last three records as well. Consider the list of desires and subtle fears in I and Love and You’s “The Perfect Space” or the admission of insecurity of that album’s closer. Then compare them with a statement from The Carpenter like “If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.”

Earlier in their career, the great unknowns of life seemed to leave the brothers awestruck and perhaps a little frightened, and understandably so. Who can say they haven’t been there before? But over time, they’ve come to accept the fact that you don’t have to have all the answers to get along in this world, that “a life lived in fear is a life half-lived,” to quote Baz Luhrmann. Even on some of the more heavy-hearted Magpie tunes, the boys seem to be rolling with the punches a little easier. In “Bring Your Love to Me,” for example, the lovelorn singer claims he can go on without the object of his affection if need be. “If it’s meant to be, I will go alone—God knows I can—just not as well,” he sings before coyly adding, “And besides, what kind of fun is there to be had with no one else.”

Magpie and the Dandelion as a whole takes on a carefree attitude that seeks to revel in all life has to offer. It’s a solid record that showcases all of The Avett Brothers’ talents and captures them, as well as their songwriting, in an interesting emotional place on their journey further down the road. — Paste

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