75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
I am entranced by both the musicality and the clever and thoughtful lyrics of "I and Love and You." Consider the title song lyrics: "Three words that became hard to say: I and love and you." As a whole the album considers the nature of love, loneliness, longing and desire. The vocals and instrumentals are both energetic and polished as one would expect from a major label debut produced by Rick Rubin.
The Avett's overall style on this album is a charming blend of folk-country and rock. My favorite songs include the sweet and soulful "January Wedding" and "Ten Thousand Words" which describes the danger of paralysis by introspection. Then there is the wise and wonderful "The Perfect Space" which states "I wanna have friends that I can trust. .... that love me for the man I've become, not the man that I was." Perfect Space has an engaging shift from slow to up-tempo midway through the song. Other songs such as the joyous "Kick Drum Heart," "Slight Figure of Speech," and "It Goes On and On" exhibit this same wonderful level of foot stomping punk rock overdrive throughout.
"I and Love and You" is an album that makes me think and makes me happy at the same time. NPR has described the Avett Brothers as "Moving and smart, catchy and warm, it's a band -- and an album -- that anyone could love." I agree and suggest you get and listen to the album as soon as you can.
TheAvettBrothers Dotcom also has a stream of all the songs from I and Love and You. You call also see the NPR video and audio streams of the Avett Brothers including their performance at the 2009 Newport Folk Festival, Song of the Day and tiny desk concert. Wonderful!
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
With their major label debut, the Avett Bros. should hopefully be receiving even more attention than before, and well deserved it will be. The new album, I and Love and You, contains all of the good things that the Brothers represent, musically. There are satisfying harmonies, some great playing of instruments (primarily acoustic), and most of all, a very good baker's dozen of new tunes. Style-wise, the band's music is often considered New Folk, or Americana, or another roots-based category. For me, I prefer to just put them in a "favorite songs" category and leave it at that. So we do get a fair share of 6-string, banjo, piano, and even the occasional tuba, but the instrumentation is in service of the good songs. (It's not all acoustic. A few cuts such as "Kick Drum Heart" and "Slight Figure of Speech" have a more standard rock sound.) Perhaps one fear Avett fans had about the jump to a major was that they would be paired up with a producer who would water down their music, but Rick Rubin did a terrific job with I and Love and You. In this day of so many overproduced recordings, it's nice to hear a pure and clean version of the Avett Brothers that allows all of their joy in the music to come out.
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2009
I admit I'm biased and would listen to anything The Avett Brothers wanted to record, including conversations while broken down by the side of the road. That's a testament to their charisma, honesty, and straightforward talent. The new CD is packed with fantastic songs. My favorite so far is "Ill With Want" (what a title!) and if you aren't crying by the time you finish listening to those words you may not be human. Others that concert fans are already familiar with include Laundry Room (the passion will wow you, although I think it comes across better in concert), Tin Man, and the title song. Another standout among standouts is "Road Full of Promise Head Full of Doubt". I'm looking forward to a long relationship with these songs and sentiments. Oh, I almost forgot "January Wedding"! How could I forget that jewelbox?
For people new to The Avett Brothers, I urge you to also get their earlier CDs. These are the songs the rabid fans first knew them by, and they are different that the songs on I&L&Y. You need to know the other facets of the best band in the world.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2009
I must preface this review by stating that I am in no way a musical scholar. That being said, while I cannot state in technical terms what is right or wrong with this album, even if I could, I wouldn't. For me, it's not about timbre or quantity of banjo riffs or quality of production. From the most basic, stripped-down standpoint, isn't music, well, any art form really, meant to evoke emotion? Anybody could technically learn how to strum a guitar, but not everybody can make you feel it like The Avett Brothers. Without thinking of their past albums or whether or not you feel that they are abandoning a certain genre, in the purest sense, I and Love and You provides truly thought-provoking music. Every word is genuine. Each lyric is placed not because it rhymes with a previous line, but because it is meant to be there. This is what I appreciate about The Avett Brothers: a common thread of honesty that winds through every one of their albums, this one included.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
With me it was love at first listen with the Avett Brothers. Their scrappy brand of American roots music coupled with strong songwriting was a refreshing aural tonic. I enjoyed watching them expand their musical pallet and continue to grow as songwriters and thought that their last album EMOTIONALISM was nothing short of a masterpiece. But, I became nervous when I saw that the band had signed with a major label and spent the spring touring with the Dave Matthews Band. With trepidation I purchased I AND LOVE AND YOU, afraid that I would be bitterly disappointed with their new work. Well, I was wrong. The new album not only matches the much heralded EMOTIONAISM, but to my ears, surpasses it.
While I miss the feral sound of their earlier work and live shows, I feel that this is their most consistent set of songs. Their open and honest lyrics have been honed to an even sharper edge on this set. While expanding their sound with more percussion, strings and keyboards, the Avetts have not forgotten how to write drop-dead gorgeous tunes. 10,000 WORDS, AND IT SPREAD and JANUARY WEDDING are beautiful songs that have a timeless quality. The title song which seemed a little weak when I first heard it leaked as a single now seems like a mission statement and sets the tone perfectly.
The plain truth is that this is a great album, full of unforgettable songs, strong melodies and crystal clear instrumental and vocal performances. Fans of the band's previous work should find much to love here, while it's a perfect place for the uninitiated to start. The Avett Brothers have hit their stride and are a true musical treasure. Enjoy them
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2009
I've been an Avett Brothers fan for the better part of 4 years - since before the release of 'Four Thieves Gone'. What has followed since then has been a gradual progression of the Avett Brothers from a raucous, toe tapping band exploding with energy to thought provoking lyricists and amazing composers - culminating in the release of 'I and Love and You'.
Even the most casual listener will be able to point out a few key differences between this release and those that preceded it:
1. The banjo has been phased out with the exception of 'January Wedding', 'Laundry Room' and 'Tin Man' and replaced with piano giving their music less of a bluegrass feel and more of a folk feel.
2. The mood of the album is considerably subdued. Gone is much of the break neck pace that was the focal point their earlier work.
Knowing that, if you are coming into this expecting them to beat the living hell out of their instruments for an hour, you'll be a bit disappointed. But if you take 'I and Love and You' for what it is, a lyrical masterpiece with a clean crisp sound, you'll be very pleased.
The album kicks off with it's title track, which serves as a bit of a road map for where the Avett Brothers are taking their sound. As the album progresses, we begin to get a feel for the direction the band and Rick Rubin were heading -- and we are treated to some amazing ballads like 'Ten Thousand Words', 'Ill With Want' and 'Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise' which showcase some amazing composition, amazing harmonies, the growth of Scott Avett lyrically, and most controversially little guitar and banjo as they give way to a full drum set and piano.
The Avett Brothers also build on a new electrical feel that we have only seen glimpses of in the past. Songs like 'The Perfect Space', the toe tapping 'Kick Drum Heart' and more specifically 'Slight Figure of Speech' and 'On and On' (which are something you might expect to find on something like a Ben Folds record, but are solid contributions).
Not wanting to forget their roots, there's even a little tip back to their bluegrass roots in the form of the aforementioned 'Tin Man' (which would be a lot better without the hokey tuba), 'January Wedding', 'Laundry Room', and 'And It Spread'.
Lyrically the album is very tight, as Avetts have said - each word plays off the one before and after it. It almost feels like a concept album of sorts about the many faces and forms Love - more specifically our tendency as humans to both overextend and withhold Love.
In the end, 'I and Love and You' is a solid step forward for the Avett Brothers, giving them a clean crisp sound that was missing on their previous work. Songs like 'Ten Thousand Words', 'Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise', 'And it Spread', and the title track will likely find themselves described as among the best of the Avetts work to date. And more importantly, it perfectly showcases the many faces their music can take and provides them a great launching pad to whatever life holds next for Scott, Seth, Bob, and Joe.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2010
The above lyric is from the title track to Seth and Scott Avett's latest album, "I and Love and You", and it works well to describe the album as a whole. While it's in no way a bad album, it signals a stylistic departure for the Avett Brothers that, while easily opening a door for mainstream success, may distance longtime fans who were first drawn to the band by their unique brand of neo-bluegrass.
Each of the Avett Brother's albums has clear, emotional underpinning and style that runs throughout. Mignonette is upbeat, and evocative of an optimistic view of love and relationships. The Gleam is its polar opposite, and is easily the band at their most melancholy, evoking a dirge-like sorrow pulled from the black depths of Appalachia. Carolina Jubilee strikes a balance between these, and between "Pretty Girl from Locust", "Smoke in the Lights" and "Offering" it may be their most personal and introspective, a notion driven home by the titular "Carolina Jubilee" that caps off the album.
So where does "I and Love and You" fall into this spectrum? If one word had to be used, it would have to be "produced." It's easily their best produced album to date, owing to their move to a major record label (American Recordings). A number of songs (most notably the title track and "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise") come with sweeping string backing, and the proliferation of percussion virtually unheard of in the band's earlier outing creates a sound easily at home on Top 40 Radio.
This focus on production creates the heart of the album, which are a number of piano-based ballads. The album sees a greater focus on piano over the guitar/banjo driven tracks that were the Avett Brothers' hallmark; of this, "January Wedding" is the only track to retain that dynamic in full. In fact, Scott Avett's banjo seems almost entirely absent from the album, depriving it of the joviality provided to songs like "The Day Marvin Gaye Died" off Mignonette. In its place are dual six strings in "Ten Thousand Words" and "Tin Man", and the near ubiquitous piano.
While this format lacks somewhat the sound distinctive to earlier albums, it in no way disparages the skill of the performers. The brothers' two part harmonies shine in "Ten Thousand Words" along with flowing guitars reminiscent of Zeppelin's "Going to California", and in "Laundry Room" and "Incomplete and Insecure" as well. They play well, and their music brims with emotional content, not quite to the extent of "Smoke in the Lights" but nonetheless compelling. The addition of Joe Kwon on the cello fits effortlessly into this harmony, best heard in the title track and "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise".
This begins to stray into the areas where the album loses its tightness and feeling. "I and Love and You" is a structure pillared on piano ballads, particularly the title, "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise", "The Perfect Space" and the closing track, "Incomplete and Insecure". These come through as being not only well written but performed with real heart and follow-through. But between these, the material presented feels less heartfelt, less clever and less interesting on the whole. In their prior outing, the band's poppier songs have always been grounded in brilliant poetry arcing between the melancholy and the upbeat; the pinnacle of this may be "At the Beach" from Mignonette, but it comes through on all their recordings.
In that regard, there simply isn't much meat on the bones of these intermediate tracks. Straying from their country and bluegrass roots, songs like "Tin Man" and "Slight Figure of Speech" hardly stand out at all; they sound like college rock from the mid to late 90s instead of the refreshingly honest and clear work the Avett Brothers have put out before. The greatest case of this negative stylistic departure is "Kick Drum Heart", which sounds like it was performed by another band entirely. These songs may be catchy to some listeners, and do relay a measure of musical skill, but they lack the soul and sense of originality that were the heart and soul of the band.
It's not all bad of course. Those balladous pillars are marvelously written and performed. The title track may be the best on the album, although "Head Full of Doubt" certainly gives it a run for its money. There's more to it than just that though. In an interview with the AP, the Avett Brothers said that the song isn't just a ballad about two lovers growing apart, it's an introspective look by the band at its own growth and the changes brought about thereby which distance them from their fanbase. It's a sad truth, and one hopes that, by recognizing this departure, the Avett Brothers will try to recapture their original essence before they abandon it for the mainstream.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2009
Having followed the band since the small bar North Carolina days, I can say that they have done their fans proud with this major label debut. Having been around a while, I expected a change in sound after the record deal and work with Rick Rubin. Yes, things are different, but it will still leave you smiling. Rubin and company have distilled the essence of the band, and it works.
The difference between this band and others is that they're not just telling you a story, they actually MEAN every word, and that still comes across on this album. It's the reason so many of us became instant fans when seeing them live. They connect with you and sing about places you've been in your life, and you just know they get it.
While every song is great, Kick Drum heart, Tin Man, January Wedding and Laundry Room are stand outs. This album, I believe, will help them connect with new listeners, and if one of those is you, they have a stunning back catalogue. Start with Emotionalism and the Gleam EPs. Thank you Avett Brothers, for continuing to produce genuine art, where so many others fail.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2009
This album has some great stuff on it. The song writing is great, the vocals of the two Avett Brothers are as good as ever, there's some great guitar work, but when I listened to this album the first time I felt like something was missing. The second time through I started to realize that there was almost NO banjo at all. Half the reason I started listening to the Avett Brothers was because I loved the poppy folk style with aggressive banjo work and the kick/hi-hat percussion combo. Unfortunately, there are only two songs with any banjo, "January Wedding" and "Laundry Room," which only has banjo for the last minute and a half or so and it's barely audible. There's none on the rest of the album. Lots of piano, lots of layered guitars, Unfortunately, a lot of the songs sound like songs from a more heartfelt Ben Folds (which I guess is OK cause I didn't care much for his latest incredibly snarky release). I have a theory: Sony told them to tone down the banjo. It makes sense. This has signs of major label interference all over it. "Kick Drum Heart" is clearly designed for radio airplay (for the record, I like this song a lot, the only ones I like more are January Wedding and Laundry Room). Also, while it's a great song, Slight Figure of Speech seems very out of place with the amplified guitars and full drum set. Like I said, the original instrumentation of the Avett Brothers is half of what drew me in. The other half is the fantastic song writing, tight harmonies and lyrical genius. That half is here, but I feel a little cheated to only hear a track and a half of banjo.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
I love every song on this album. It's intense, though, and not good for background music when you have people over, or when reading, etc. This is music, and intelligence, that needs attention. The musicianship is high, and the lyrics are to ponder. I would guess, that if you love Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Loudon Wainwright... You will love this.