Avett Brothers | Magpie & the Dandelion

[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Album Grade: B-[/title]

The Avett Brothers have returned for the second year in a row with an album release, this time pushing off with the momentum of their recent burst in popularity with the record Magpie and the Dandelion. Released thirteen months after their last record, The Avett Brothers look to build onto their already large fanbase they built from nonstop, on-the-go touring. Perhaps one of their most anticipated album releases to date, Magpie and the Dandelion is faced with the challenge of living up to the insane hype the band has garnered from media in recent months which can end two ways: the album rises to the occasion, or falls short of its lofty expectations. So where does Magpie and the Dandelion end up on this spectrum?

The album begins strong with the track “Open Ended Life,” which is, to put it simply, The Avett Brothers at their very best. It’s truly reminiscent of the classic sound we’ve come to expect from the band, but it also demonstrates a high level of refinement that one would be hard pressed to find in some of their earlier works. The next two songs on the track, “Morning Song” and “Never Been Alive” are also pretty fun to listen to.

Unfortunately, the album loses its steam after the first three songs, as the fourth track “Another Is Waiting” seems to be the album’s most poppy song, albeit poppy for the Avett Brothers, however it just doesn’t have that punch to stand up to other Avett Brothers classics, which is troubling when the song is the album’s lead single.

The rest of the album is more or less of the same old stuff we’ve come to expect from the Avett Brothers, which could be good or bad. It’s nice to see they aren’t selling out and instead sticking to what made them popular in the first place, but it isn’t much of a step forward for the band. The album seems to almost try to mimic the success of their previous albums without attempting much that is new or out of their comfort zone. Essentially, Magpie and the Dandelion is too derivative of their former work to be considered a revolutionary album.

In short, the album is good, but don’t listen to it expecting to be blown away by something new and crazy the band attempts. Instead, just be happy that the Avett Brothers exist, and try and listen to Magpie and the Dandelion for what it is, a typical Avett Brothers album.