The Avett Brothers, "I And Love And You"
On past albums, the Avett Brothers' greatest attribute has been their ability to lure comfortable yet elegant fireplace melodies from just a handful of guitars and one DNA strand. But higher stakes are called for on their major-label debut, "I and Love and You"-and the brothers have responded with nothing less than a game-changer. The North Carolina-based band has smartly obliterated and redrawn its folk-punk/ grunge-roots history, first declaring its relocation to Brooklyn on the glowing title track, and then swinging for the fences with a finger-painted rave-up ("Kick Drum Heart"). Meanwhile, the song "Heart Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise" is a swelling epic with a title to match, and "The Perfect Space" is an Elton John-like piano ballad. Packed front to back with lyrical treats and lovely sonic touches (thanks to producer Rick Rubin), "I and Love and You" may be one of the major labels' best pieces of news this fall.-Jeff Vrabel