Final Rating: 4.5/10
Folk Rock Band The Avett Brothers have released their 9th album to date, True Sadness. Being a band as reputable as they are, I was definitely expecting something a little more catchy, promising, and perhaps uplifting in a sense however, I was left extremely disappointed.
This album felt very thrown together. Honestly, there were 2 songs that I enjoyed; no over-exaggeration. The album is not smooth in any sense, and does not have a flow. When listening to an album, I want to feel that it all flows together well; one song into the next. Diversity is definitely a must within characteristics within an album however, it should still be able to flow nicely. With this album, there is a little amount of flow, way too much synthesizing for a FOLK album, and it is simply all over the place. Diversity is strongly appreciated however, synthesizing (especially overdone) is just something that is not as accepted in folk, and makes for an awkward sound.
Opening Track “Ain’t No Man” was fun and upbeat, and I genuinely did enjoy this track. It kicked off the album very well, but then left me feeling disappointed. After listening to and enjoying this song, I truly had high hopes and a good feeling about the rest of the album, until I kept listening. This song has more of a pop/country feel to its folkish style, but it is produced very well and is a very enjoyable listen. Background vocals create a sense of unity and fits perfectly with the track. After this song features mediocre tracks such as “Mama I Don’t Believe”, “Smithsonian”, “You Are Mine”, and much more.
“Satan Pulls The String” was an okay track. I was enjoying the inclusion of violin interludes until they became far too repetitive, to the point where it was just irritating and I was asking myself, how many more times can this be repeated?
The best track on this album would be “Victims of Life”. This song has a great message, about how we all deal with hardships in life, no matter who you are. It wasn’t overproduced, and had some very nice soft riffs. Repetition is a large factor in this song, but it works very well. This song most definitely feels the most organic on this album, as each song contains almost too much instrumentation, synthesizing, and production.
“Divorce Separation Blues” is without a doubt based on Seth Avett’s separation from his wife, Susan. This song felt like something that was supposed to be taken seriously, but it really sounded like a joke. The lyrics were extremely unattractive and hard to take seriously such as “I’m gonna wash the dishes, pay the bills and watch the news”, “I’ve got the tough education, no celebration, divorce separation blues”. Incorporation of yodeling made the song even more unattractive than it already had been, and it really was just a painful listen.
The album closed with “May It Last” which was this all of a sudden over produced (not surprisingly) rock style track, which was probably the worst choice of song to close the album.
Overall, this album was an upset after waiting 3 years for another album. It was also a disappointment considering they released “Ain’t No Man” as a single, which left listeners being deceived into what the album would truly sound like.