If you have seen The Avett Brothers live, you understand the intensity, passion and raucous energy they bring to the stage. The newest release from Scott and Seth Avett is titled The Second Gleam and is no different in its intensity and passion; only with this album, instead of your getting your feet stomping, it will have your heart pounding.
The Second Gleam is brief in its duration but has and indescribable lingering ability that, for those of us with any operating emotion, goes way beyond the twenty minutes of raw lyrics over understated chords. The sound of the album is minimalist and modest. If it is the first time you’ve heard the brothers, you might not really understand why they have such a following. My answer is “go see them live.” They have the capability as artists to send audiences from one extreme to another, from a stomping, clapping, screaming celebration of being alive to a soft spoken song about the love of family.
Scott and Seth Avett are songwriters of universal pain and celebration of common human experiences. On this album, the two go back and forth, each singing three of the six songs as if they are swapping their stories around a campfire.
In the opener, Tear Down the House, a particularly vivid verse evokes each of our own experiences with pain of love gone sour and brings it into perspective.
I remember crying over you
And I don’t mean like a couple of tears and I’m blue
I’m talking about collapsing and screaming at the moon.
But I’m a better man for having gone through it,
Yes, I’m a better man for having gone through.
Scott sings a careful love song titled The Greatest Sum, in which he proclaims that nothing could hold him back from the one he loves. It’s not exceedingly catchy or overly produced which makes it much more touching. Swoon, Mr. Avett, Swoon.
Not even the sun, bullet from a gun
No, nothing that this world can bring
Or anything someone can do
Could hold me back from you
Murder in the City has long been a favorite of live audiences since it was introduced late last year. It is finally been recorded on this album, a perfect home for a song that serves as a meaningful living will, reminding us not to forget what is important in this life through a song about death.
If I get murdered in the city, go read the letter in my desk.
Don’t bother with all my belongings, but pay attention to the list.
Make sure my sister knows I loved her; make sure my mother knows the same.
Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.
This album comes out only more than a week after the announcement that The Avett Brothers had signed to Columbia/American records and would be working with producer Rick Rubin on a full-length album. The Second Gleam was put out by Ramseur Records, who the boys have been with since their inception and has been highly anticipated. The song Bella Donna has already been chosen as “song of the day” on Southern California’s top public radio station, KCRW and the boys just sold out a 7,000 person venue in Cary, NC on July 26th. Looks like after several years of doing it the old fashioned way, someone is getting what they deserve. Welcome to the Avett Nation.