Singing each song as if they are trying to wring the last ounce of pain from their heart, as if their next breath might be their last, The Avett Brothers (Seth on guitar, Scott on banjo, and surrogate brother Bob Crawford on upright bass) have crafted The Second Gleam, a soul-bearing, six-song EP that serves as an appetizer for the band’s next full-length album, due out in the spring of 2009.
Delivered in The Avett Brothers simple, straightforward style with unflinching sincerity, each song on The Second Gleam is a harsh look at the trials and troubles we have all been through. When brother Scott sings, “I remember crying over you, And I don’t mean like a couple of tears and then I’m blue, I’m talkin’ about collapsing and screaming at the moon,” from the opening “Tear Down the House,” it feels like every time you’ve had your heart broken – from the middle school crush to the one that got away.
The Avett Brothers have slowly carved out their own unique place in the music world; not quite folk, not quite country, not quite bluegrass or rock, it is that ability to slither through those labels that gives their music its power. Without being boxed in and mislabeled, the focus can fully rest on the deep introspective lyrics the Brothers craft, and the stories they sing and relate. The Second Gleam is packed with these stories, from the confused sibling relationship of “Murder in the City” to the straight forward love expressed in “The Greatest Sum.”
The Second Gleam is a slightly dialed down version of their raucous live shows and their previous albums, existing more in the acoustic, less in the punk. Sounding best late at night with a head full of whiskey and heart full of problem, they sing on the closing “Souls Like the Wheels,” “One little song, Give me strength, To leave the sad and the wrong, Buried safely in the past, Where I’ve been living … a lie, But I’m forgiving, Let me go, Let me go, Let me go, Let me go.”
Pour some whiskey, grab your troubles, listen to this and let go.
The Second Gleam is out now on Ramseur Records.