The Avett Brothers have released their tenth full-length studio album: “Closer Than Together”. This album features 13 songs and runs 55 minutes long.
“Closer Than Together” merges the sounds of the Avett Brothers’ early albums and their ninth full-length studio album: “True Sadness”. “True Sadness” featured more electric sounds and toed the line of falling into top-40 territory. The Avett Brothers are known for their melodic acoustic folk-rock music. “Closer Than Together” features some of the driving, almost angry sounds that were featured on “True Sadness,” but overall, “Closer Than Together” is reminiscent to the Avett Brothers’ roots.
Both Seth Avett and Scott Avett’s voices are featured in precise harmonies – sharing the load of lead vocals throughout the album. Throughout the full 55 minutes, the clear folky voices of Seth and Scott Avett are the centerpiece of the songs.
Behind the brothers’ voices are intricate melodies on both the acoustic guitar and the banjo. Alongside these intricate melodies – for the majority of the album – is the constant bass, cello, piano, and subtle drums.
This is not to say that the Avett Brothers do not also implement some of the more electronic, main-stream, top-40 synth and electric instruments in “Closer Than Together”. This is most noticeable in the driving opening to the album, “Bleeding White”. This song immediately demands the attention of the audience. Midway through the album, “High Steppin’” pulls in these electronic elements and provides a brief deviance from the mostly acoustic and melodic album.
The Avett Brothers are known for their ability to craft sonically upbeat songs that contain lyrically serious and introspective messages. “Closer Than Together” is an example of this ability.
“Closer Than Together” deals with themes such as identity, gender inequality, climate change, gun violence, and greed.
The Avett Brothers have stated that this album is not meant to be political; however, it does deal with many hot-button topics. This is not a new concept to the Avett Brothers, as their past discography also features songs that deal with topics that were once – or still are – concepts the public is wrestling with.
This being said, this album features the most overt – in my opinion – allusions to these hot-button themes. The blatant allusions call for a deeper listen from audiences. Listening to the songs for any reason beyond the sound creates situations in which the audience must complete both some reflection on society and self-reflection.
If you are seeking the typical Avett Brothers sound, this album accomplishes that goal with its fairly gentle and overall melodic sounds. However, this is not an album you could listen to mindlessly if you intend to pay attention to the messages of each song.
This is not a negative. “Closer Than Together” is simply not a light listen. There are no quick, witty and jesting songs featured on this album as there are featured on previous albums such as “A Carolina Jubilee” or any of the live albums the Avett Brothers have released. There is no token, sappy love song.
This album feels like an even further matured sound from the Avett Brothers. It is certainly more than worth your time; however, it is an album you need to carve out time for in order to fully concentrate on the entire album. “Closer Than Together” demands attention and will keep it if given a thorough listen.
Rad Tracks: “Bleeding White,” “Tell the Truth,” “High Steppin’,” and “Who Will I Hold”
“Closer Than Together” is available on Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music!