by Joel Smith and Ted S. McGregor Jr. & r & & r & The Avett Brothers & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fphobos.apple.com%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253Fs%253D143441%2526i%253D120721686%2526id%253D120721183%2526partnerId%253D30 & quot; & Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsville Sessions & lt;/a & 4 STARS & r & There are moments on this disc when it seems like a no-brainer that the Avett Brothers are going to be the next big thing in the world of folk/roots music. Just the opening track, "Talk on Indolence," would seem to prove that, as brothers Seth and Scott Avett scream themselves hoarse over Bob Crawford's modest bass, then strum so fiercely and punk-ishly on banjo and guitar that you're waiting to hear their strings snap.
Same goes for "Colorshow," a kind of minor-key dirge that combines the dark creepiness of Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man" with the Arcade Fire's electrifying sense of urgency. When they implore you to "be loud / let your colors show," it sends chills up the spine.
The whole album's not this intense. The North Carolina-based trio shows great sensitivity on tracks like "16 in July" and "Famous Flower of Manhattan." And there are a couple of outright misses -- natural for a disc that's 17 tracks and over an hour long. But when they're on -- really on -- Alison Krauss better watch her back. -- Joel Smith
Jack Johnson & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fphobos.apple.com%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253Fs%253D143441%2526i%253D120954034%2526id%253D120954021%2526partnerId%253D30 & quot; & Curious George soundtrack & lt;/a & 3 STARS & r & When I heard they got Will Ferrell to provide the voice for the Man in the Yellow Hat in the movie version of Curious George, I groaned. Hollywood would, of course, abuse the frisky little monkey created by H.A. and Margret Rey in the 1940s. But then I heard they hired Jack Johnson to do the soundtrack, and my faith in Hollywood was restored (a bit).
A Hawaiian surfer dude by profession, Johnson's whole sound has the feel of being tossed off from a hammock after a few too many Mai Tais, and it's no different here. His "Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies" are charming precisely because they don't try too hard.
"The Sharing Song" exhibits Johnson's knack for R & amp;B, and "My Own Two Hands," with Ben Harper, is filled with the kind of sweet, na & iuml;ve optimism childhood is famous for. But his cover of the White Stripes' "We're Going To Be Friends" is the CD's best: If you can place which film's opening credits the original version played over, you could win a delicious bass. -- Ted S. McGregor Jr.