The Avett Brothers - The Gleam CD

“The Gleam” Is Gleaming: A Review of Scott and Seth Avett’s New CD It is a grey, chilly morning as I sit here and listen to my recently purchased copy of Scott and Seth Avett’s duet album. Relatively short, “The Gleam” contains six tracks; all originals. All of them are written, produced and performed by brothers Scott and Seth. The third member of their group, “The Avett Brothers,” Bob Crawford, is notably missing, causing this collection of songs to have a decidedly different sound from albums past.
"Sanguine" plays softly as I stand, wrapped in an old, soft sweater, by the window, sipping coffee. I did not know what the title meant, as it is a new word to me. Looking in Webster's New World Dictionary, I find there are several different meanings: "of the color of blood: ruddy, esp. of complexions" or "having a warm, passionate, cheerful temperament and a healthy, ruddy complexion," or "cheerful and confident; optimistic." As the song flows smoothly along, you can't help but get caught up in the beautiful, yet complex instrumentals. There is an absolutely stunning guitar instrumental about 2/3 of the way through the song. "When I Drink" is a quite a step or two more upbeat. Also, somewhat more humorous, yet startling true lyrically about what happens when the singer is drinking and not drinking. This tune finds me singing along to the very catchy chorus, my voice cracking on "just do your best..." line. I decide it's best to let the Avetts sing it. "Yardsale" tones things down a bit again, with the lyrics telling a story of war, family and letting go. This is performed in a sing-songy style, with some twang-y, back porch overtones in the guitar melodies. Quite a contemplative tune, this song causes one to want to think back over their lives and memories. "Backwards with Time" finds me quickstepping it through the house, with its catchy rhythm. Throwing a harmonica in on this ditty, with invigorating music and sing-able lyrics, Scott and Seth have yet another memorable song. I can't help but sing along and I've only heard it twice so far! This would be a good one to see live. "If it's The Beaches," is a beautiful, lilting Spanish infused song. Dripping with true love and heart's promises, one can feel the light-hearted, hopeful emotion in this song. Yet another one that I could listen to over and over again! "Find My Love" is a song that questions. The most vocally diverse song on the album, Scott and Seth cover all ranges of the vocal spectrum throughout. Having heard them both incorporate screaming and yelling from deep within themselves to express their feelings in the past, they have done this equally well from the opposite perspective. The gentleness and softness of the vocals are beautiful; there is just no other way to describe it. All in all, this is a much more mellow recording for these guys. A true test to vocal talent, these complex melodies give both Seth and Scott high marks in the singing department. As "The Avett Brothers", there is a lot of yelling and screaming during the most upbeat of tunes, causing some loss to the listener of the true vocal talent these guys have. This new release, however short, proves to be hard evidence of the diverse musical ability that runs in this family's blood, with vocals and with instruments. Combine that with touching, thoughtful and truthful lyrics and, well, you just have to listen for yourself. As for me, I'm going to go listen to my copy of "The Gleam." Yes, again. - By Jennifer Harp