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Sound Check

The Avett Brothers

7/13/2016

“True Sadness”

American Recordings

 

“True Sadness” stands poised to be viewed as The Avett Brothers’ most polarizing album to date. Should the group now begin its fall into obscurity, purists will point to this album as the linchpin that started it all. Avett Brothers“True Sadness” is, far and away, the most superficially poppy album The Avett Brothers has released, both for good and bad. The sound that drew in the vast majority of the band’s followers — acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies that were aged beyond their calendar years — are pushed increasingly to the background. So much so, that when they do show up on this album, as on “I Wish I Was,” it comes as a pleasant surprise. But for the most part, “True Sadness” is a larger, louder, fuller album than anything the Brothers have turned in before. It may have more radio appeal, but it is almost assured to leave the hardest-core fans feeling a little betrayed. CV

 

HIV

 

 

Neil Young

“Earth”

Reprise

 

Two years ago, I labeled Young’s then-latest release, “The Monsanto Years,” as garbage. Arguably the most unsubtle album Young has ever released, it showed us what one of the world’s most gifted songwriters sounds like when he stops being coy and starts swinging for the cheap seats. But “Earth,” a live album recorded during Young’s most recent tour, features several songs from “The Monsanto Years,”Neil Young intercut with sounds of wildlife and nature scenes, and the end result is far more palatable. The premise of “Earth,” mixing Young’s music with a series of natural sounds, makes the album stand out as one of the more ambitious, creatively daring concepts of Young’s already daring career. The result is something that creates a subtle, nuanced, fresh take on some of Young’s previously released material. In some cases, the sounds underscore a song’s original intent, and in others, they combine to create something completely new. In every instance, “Earth” provides listeners with a new way to appreciate an old master. CV

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