The Avett Brothers ‘True Sadness’ Album Review Roundup

June 23, 2016

The Avett Brothers’ new album is ‘True Sadness’ The folk-rock band returns with an album that showcases diverse instrumentation and sensibilities and critics are weighing in. Here’s a roundup of reviews.

The Avett Brothers

The North Carolina quartet, comprised of brothers Scott and Seth Avett, alongside bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon, have become mainstays in the Americana world for the past decade and a half. As is always the case with such acoustic bands honed in traditional music any departure from purity draws notice. (Read uproar!)

Yes, it’s a fact that ‘True Sadness’ sees the band exploring new sounds beyond their bluegrass and folk roots and embracing sounds and genres that are unabashedly from pop music. But some of these forays offer some much-needed levity. Too much sadness is, well, just sad!

Their 2009 album, ‘I and Love and You, was a breakthrough album, which drew mainstream attention and grew their fan base. It was also the first time they worked with legendary producer Rick Rubin, who has produced all of their subsequent albums, including ‘True Sadness’ which is their ninth studio album.

So yes, just based on the strength of their back catalog and their growing reputation and critical acclaim, The Avett Brothers continue their inroads into mainstream. But, as Scott Avett reveals in a recent interview, the band remains committed to their core fan base. He said, “For us, we’re very connected to our audience and we feel a great responsibility to keep it honest with them and to take responsibility for what we release and so instead of taking a more safe route, I think we want to be even more honest and less concerned with image or being cool.”

Here’s what the critics are saying about ‘True Sadness.’

“…. The Avett Brothers’ gorgeous harmonies remain intact, but they are deployed in a far wider range of circumstances here, using a variety of beats and styles to better serve the stories they are trying to tell. ….” — Newsday

“….. With True Sadness, The Avett Brothers open up to their audience, sharing their dark depths with tenacity and bravado, all while inspiring to see struggles as strength…..” — Consequence of Sound

“….With conflicted lyrics about doubt and marital discord, the songs have a wounded soulfulness seemingly born out of intensive therapy. ….” — Boston Globe

“….While the experiments in modern techniques here vary in effectiveness, they at least spur the band to capture the spontaneity and jubilance of their often rapturous live shows—a spirit that often gets lost when they pack their albums with painfully sincere, stone-faced balladry. In fact, it’s when the Avetts lean back on their standard neo-bluegrass style that True Sadness is at its dullest. ….” — Slant Magazine

Favorable reviews are filing in, as the band continues their headlining tour as well as a spate of television appearances. This just might be their best charting album to date. You can see The Avett Brothers’ ‘True Sadness’ album cover art and music videos below.

Pictures: Cole Camplese via Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

« Previous Next »

Comments are closed.