The Avett Brothers “Magpie and the Dandelion”

Jake Tapley

Rather prolific as-of-late, The Avett Brothers barely even waited a year to release their new album, “Magpie and the Dandelion.”

In September of 2012, The Avett Brothers released its predecessor “The Carpenter” to mixed but mostly positive reviews – and for good reason. The album, the band’s second to be produced by Rick Rubin, challenged its sound by pushing more into the pop and rock arenas than previous albums.

I personally enjoyed the album. Its new sound is great because it preserved what I liked about its rootsy-folk vibe and really played up the pop melodies that are present but played down in earlier works.

So here we are, with yet another release from the folk-rockers, and I feel the same as I did upon listening to its previous record. That’s probably because both albums stemmed from the same recording session, making “Magpie” quite literally a follow-up.

The first half of the CD offers a nice mix of sounds and melodies with hints of bluegrass and 70s roots rock coming through in the opening track “Open Ended Life,” and pop-rock finding its way into the lead single “Another Is Waiting.”

However, much of their old sound can be heard well intact in the folk harmonization of “Morning Song” or the heartbreaking banjo of “Bring Your Love To Me.”

I think this album ultimately comes up short of “The Carpenter” in its ability to keep my interest from beginning to end. While the stripped-away “Souls Like the Wheels,” and the intimate and highly personal “Vanity,” both appeal to me as standalone tracks, they only contribute more to the lost momentum that starts in the middle of the record.