North Carolina’s pop/punk/country hybrid The Avett Brothers may have fewer siblings than Kings Of Leon but they are a far more cohesive sounding unit. After releasing a creative high point in The Carpenter, the band has quickly followed up with another album with recordings arising from that same Rick Rubin-led session.

Where The Carpenter found The Avett Brothers embracing their pop smarts, Magpie And The Dandelion is a more sombre and controlled affair. Man can’t live on bread and water alone and The Avett Brothers are clearly aware of this, as their partnership with Rubin has seen them move from ramshackle folk curios to the crisp product they are today.

 

‘Open Ended Life’ has all the type of harmonies that are sung from your soul – it’s the most barnstorming track on the album, complete with harmonica stomp and bar room shuffle.

 

Melodic gem ‘Another Is Waiting’ is the obvious radio appeaser, but it is the heartfelt downtempo numbers like ‘Part From Me’ and ‘Souls Like The Wheels’ that are the most delicious.

 

The Avett Brothers are yet to really put a foot wrong, whether pushing low-budget folk recordings or the glossier Rubin-produced albums of the past few years. Magpie And The Dandelion plays a bit like a poorer relation of The Carpenter, but it is still bordering on royalty by anyone’s standards.

 

4/5 stars

 

BY CHRIS HAVERCROFT

 

Magpie And The Dandelion is out now through American/Universal.

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