There’s a sense of peace when you first hear “Victory” in The Avett Brother’s third album installment of The Gleam series. It begins with the soft picking of a guitar as Scott Avett humbly sings “I don’t write cause I don’t think / I don’t have a need to speak / I don’t see the bright side, quite as clear” and continues to eloquently convey feeling victorious despite the highs and lows life throws everyone.
The 8-track album, The Gleam: III, gives ode to The Avett Brothers’ unrelenting thematic journey with spirituality, family and romancing the idea of love. The trilogy acts as a diary, ultimately giving prominence to its definition of brightly reflected light. However, instead of sticking to their roots of punk rock and country-rock rambles, this third installment are all simply folk ditties that are very reminiscent of autumnal fever.
Much like their previous iterations of The Gleam, which gave its fans classic tracks like “If It’s the Beaches” and “Murder in the City”, this third album focuses on the song writing and dynamic harmonies rather than their previous robust pop productions. It’s just three musicians in a room, giving soul into their work. It’s just like coming up for air when you’re swimming or stepping out into the sun after months of staying home. It’s refreshing and calming to hear the simplicity in their productions—something that the music industry truthfully lacks nowadays.
As listeners go through the album, they hear tracks like “Prison to Heaven”, which is about living through an unfulfilling life. The protagonist wonders if the prison guard will shoot him if he sees him running through the gate to escape such a life: “I’d better be off dead, / full of lead, rather / than delay one more day / Letting my mind and my body rot away in this awful place”. Then, listeners are taken to “Back Into The Light”, where generational issues and problems are talked about. Scott sings about the problems that families go through when each generation just passes down their problems and issues into the next one, instead of fixing them. He conveys how it can affect a person’s perception of love and life.
Although, the Avett Brothers have tracks about love and finally finding a woman that is “out of this world” or getting over a breakup, they still continue to touch on topics that many people are finally starting to recognize as real problems. Not many people hear tracks that surrounds familial generational curses. They understand that such topics are not easy to digest, so they took the soft and mellow path to convey their messages. However, do not mistake their folk aura as a weakness, quite in fact, they thrive in it. The Avett Brothers are bold despite their mushy and “lovey-dovey” tropes—they definitely got their boldness from their punk-rock era. Ultimately, The Gleam: III gives the listeners a refreshing perception of love and life. A simple album. That’s all it takes, sometimes.