NPR logo Exclusive First Listen: The Avett Brothers

Exclusive First Listen: The Avett Brothers

Hear 'I And Love And You' In Its Entirety

Audio for this feature is no longer available. The album was released on Sept. 29, 2009.

The Avett Brothers. Crackerfarm hide caption

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The Avett Brothers.


With their roots in punk and bluegrass, Seth and Scott Avett know how and when to careen wildly, almost recklessly. But in their albums as The Avett Brothers, they're just as likely to ruminate softly on devotion, desire and regret, in austere, sweet-natured songs that exude a sort of hard-won decency. Hear the band's much-anticipated major-label debut, I and Love and You, in its entirety here for the week leading up to its release on Sept. 29.

The Avetts — fleshed out to a trio with bassist Bob Crawford, and produced here by Rick Rubin — sound polished and reflective throughout I and Love and You. Toggling between graceful, string-swept ballads ("Ill With Want," "I and Love and You") and comparatively manic rockers ("Kick Drum Heart," "Slight Figure of Speech," "Laundry Room"), the album even indulges both impulses within a single song: The appropriately titled "The Perfect Space" reconciles The Avett Brothers' extremes, finding room for piano, a slow-moving cello and an unexpected "part two" that takes off on a wild-eyed tear.

Like many songs on I and Love and You, "The Perfect Space" captures the Avetts' willingness to infuse their words with genuine insight: "I wanna have friends that I can trust," Scott Avett sings, adding, "that love me for the man I've become, not the man that I was." It's a kind, comfortable song that feels not only lived-in, but also lived. That's how it is with The Avett Brothers' music: Moving and smart, catchy and warm, it's a band — and an album — that anyone could love.

Please leave your thoughts on I and Love and You in the comments section below.

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