Magpie and the Dandelion - The Avett Brothers

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Dec 18, 2013
    Filled with tearful ballads and ragged-trousered country, the Avetts' playing may not be the most technically accomplished but the feel they bring to Never Been Alive and Another Is Waiting is alone worth wading through their previously misfiring albums. [Jan 2014, p.96]
  2. Nov 27, 2013
    The Avett Brothers are thankfully more interested in contemporary relevance than lockstep allegiance to dusty history. [No. 104, p.52]
  3. 80
    Magpie is chock full of tracks that show the Avett Brothers are (very wisely) growing their sound, while remaining true to their core principles and what listeners like about them to begin with.
  4. Oct 28, 2013
    The Avett Brothers have established a singular style. And with it, a well-deserved reputation that assures their place among the best of the breed.
  5. Nov 14, 2013
    North Carolina's Avett Brothers have filled Magpie and the Dandelion with taut, unaffected verses that dredge the past, weigh damage against possibility, and seek emergence through selflessness and emotional responsibility.
  6. 75
    When the band turns from evocative imagery to lyrics that just feel confusingly circuitous, Magpie loses its footing. [18 Oct 2013, p.65]
  7. 75
    But for the most part, Magpie provides us with another bundle of easygoing tunes from a band that seems to have a limitless supply.
  8. Oct 15, 2013
    It’s a solid record that showcases all of The Avett Brothers’ talents and captures them, as well as their songwriting, in an interesting emotional place on their journey further down the road.
  9. Oct 15, 2013
    More hard-bitten and somberly reflective, Magpie exposes lyrics that tilt into hokey romanticism. But the craft is automatic.
  10. Oct 14, 2013
    The 11 tracks on Magpie and the Dandelion were recorded during the same Rick Rubin-produced sessions, and now stand as a well-timed response to those that found The Carpenter too weighty for its own good.
  11. Oct 14, 2013
    Perhaps the Avetts are best when they run a little bit loose and ragged, letting the tempos push a little bit hard, allowing their harmonies to clash and happy to have their loose ends remain untied. Often, this means that the ballads are just a shade too tidy.
  12. Jan 7, 2014
    Not quite as organic as they seem, their perfection lacks taste despite its polish. [Jan 2014, p.117]
  13. Nov 21, 2013
    Their recognition of pop's ability to articulate its listeners' feelings, boost morale and offer guidance is the best and worst thing about them: they come across as honest and unaffected, but also self-regarding in their homespun wisdom, and far too quick with a cliche.
  14. Oct 14, 2013
    Too many edges have been sanded off the brothers' music, and whether the blame lies with Rubin's influence or the accelerated writing pace, the result is an album devoid of the band's usual charming lyrics and adroit melodies.
  15. Oct 18, 2013
    It’s a decent bunch of leftovers and will likely appeal to Avetts dreamers who prefer the brothers serene and misty-eyed. For everyone else, Magpie and the Dandelion is competently played, handsomely arranged, and fairly boring.
  16. 50
    With just a little more time and some soul-searching, maybe the Avett Brothers can better incorporate the pop and solidify their newfound voice.
  17. Oct 15, 2013
    These songs are nice and they’re pretty, but have no bite, no substance, and no real pizzazz.
  18. There are too many plodding ballads, sentimental on the piano and heavy on the cymbals.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. BKM
    Oct 18, 2013
    While it's certainly a pleasant and listenable effort, Magpie and the Dandelion suffers from production that is too slick and songs that have been done before and better. If the Avetts are to ever regain the anguished howl of their best work, Rick Rubin may have to go. Full Review »
  2. Oct 15, 2013
    Very strong effort from the Avetts. Things are kicked off by the Alt-bluegrass Open Ended Life perfectly juxtaposed against the beautiful Morning Song. Perhaps a bit heavy on ballads but each song is well constructed and delivered with the proper mix of intensity and understatement. Other standouts include Vanity, Apart From Me and the lead single, a Another is Waiting. Full Review »