Ain't No Man
Label: RRE, LLC / Republic
True Sadness doesn’t much sound like anything that’s come before it. Where previous efforts were downhome and spacious, this one is meticulously produced and densely textured. Acoustic guitars mingle with synthesizers, while country blues cling to hip-hop beats. Yet for all of the music’s rich vibrancy, a good chunk of the lyrics reveal a palpable sense of defeat. Even when drenched in melancholy The Avett Brothers have always sounded heroic, but this isn’t the case with the aptly titled “Satan Pulls the Strings” and “Ain’t No Man.” Both are confessionals from men who have been humbled by failure. Seth Avett himself bears all on “Divorce Separation Blues,” a slice of country and western pastiche that looks back on the 2013 dissolution of his marriage. Though his divorce is but one of many life experiences that inform True Sadness, it hovers over what is the Avetts’ most sonically daring and most personal album to date.