If The Gleam II is an attempt to reinforce The Avett Brothers’ cred as their popularity grows, it should do the trick.
The Second Gleam (as it’s more commonly called) is downright beautiful, and pretty much every song stands up to fan favorites like “The Ballad of Love and Hate.” The EP’s single, “Murder in the City,” is just as good as anything they’ve done.
The music is soft and at times reminiscent of Iron & Wine’s more sensitive moments, but Gleam‘s themes are darker than Beam’s; for example, “Murder in the City” is a kind of homicide note to family.
Based on this EP, new fans may not realize that the Avetts do more than mellow songs, but The Second Gleam will still be an apt introduction to their back catalog. In the last (non-bonus track) song, “Souls Like the Wheels,” the singer pleads “Let me go, let me go, let me go,” but with this EP, it’s just not possible.
Download: The Avett Brothers; June 14, 2008 (Bonnaroo)