The Avett Brothers Magpie and the Dandelion

The Avett BrothersMagpie and the Dandelion
It was only a year ago that the Avetts released The Carpenter, an overall dark, brooding collection that deliberately pushed the group's emotionally-charged sound to its extremes. The 11 tracks on Magpie and the Dandelion were recorded during the same Rick Rubin-produced sessions, and now stand as a well-timed response to those that found The Carpenter too weighty for its own good. Infectious country rocker "Open Ended Life" immediately sends that message, establishing a theme of hope that runs throughout the album. It's the sort of wide-eyed optimism that those who discovered the Avetts on their 2009 breakthrough, I and Love and You, will undoubtedly embrace again, while keeping those turned off by the group's heart-on-sleeve naivety unconverted. This facet of Scott and Seth Avett's songwriting is what often gets them compared to Mumford & Sons, but on tracks like "Never Been Alive" and "Another is Waiting," the signs they're maturing into folk-rock craftsmen are more than evident in the arrangements. It's a wise move, now that they've released Magpie and the Dandelion and The Carpenter separately, but taken together, they form an impressive document of a very productive period in the Avett Brothers' career. (American/Universal)