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The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You 

CD review of The Avett Brothers latest I and Love and You.

The Avett Brothers aren't trying to impress you with their new record, I and Love and You. The bluegrass/folk rock trio has garnered an enthusiastic following over the last few years, and this record, their first on a major label, is one that could be a watershed disc for them. But I and Love and You is a girl-next-door kind of record - quirky and lovely, infectious, even, but unassuming. It has lush harmonies, quotable lyrics, and grown-up arrangements, but the Avett Brothers remain true to their folk roots in the mood of the record, a back-porch-with-a-PBR kind of sound.

The title track opens the record with a quiet piano that ropes you into a tale of travel and hairline-fractured hearts.It continues with "January Wedding," a simple song about "simple love." Brothers Scott and Seth Avett switch off lead vocals and harmony duty throughout the record, and while their voices are dissimilar, they are complementary; the trade off comes naturally. Continually driven by the piano, the record picks up energy and influences, adding hints of Ben Folds to their alt-country vibe. The middle of the album is both the most poignant and the most fun. "Perfect Space," a pretty ballad meets Wilco-like rock out concerning the character of a man ("I want to have pride like my mother has, but not like the kind in the Bible that turns you bad") and exemplifies their range of dynamics and creativity.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of filler tracks. "Tin Man" is ruined by a cheesy tuba, but could be delightful live. "Ill with Want" has a tinge too much woe-is-me twang. The end of the record compensates, however, finishing with sway-along anthems that will have you raising your PBR's in a self-deprecating yet loving toast.

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