Saturday, October 16, 2010

Guster - Easy Wonderful

Guster is back with a brand new record titled Easy Wonderful. As is usually the case with them, it’s been too long between releases. The band’s last album Ganging Up On The Sun came out in 2006. That’s a long time to wait. Part of that wait was due to members of the band getting married and having children. The question that arises is was Easy Wonderful worth the wait?

The first thing that is extremely noticeable upon first listen of the new album is the absence of the band’s trademark bongos. Ever since 2003’s Keep It Together, Guster has been straying from bongos on their records. They’ve been trying to evolve their sound into something more and that’s commendable. However, the complete absence of such a wonderful percussion instrument is highly noticeable and mildly disappointing.

How does Guster overcome this absence? They overcome this by making solid, enjoyable songs that will soon become part of their amazing catalog. Easy Wonderful opens with the fantastic Architects and Engineers. This song has a nice melody accompanied by strong lyrics and great vocals. As with most Guster songs, the lyrics make the listener think, which leads to a deeper appreciation of the song. Architects and Engineers is a great lead off track that makes us hopeful for the rest of the record.

Fortunately, Guster delivers on more than one song. Do You Love Me, the second song of the record, picks up right where Architects and Engineers left off in terms of pure enjoyment. A happy, foot-tapping song, Do You Love Me is another brilliant piece of hard work. If they decide to release this song to the radio, it’s bound to be a huge hit.

Other noticeable tracks include the first single, Bad, Bad, World, as well as What You Call Love, Jesus and Mary, and Do What You Want. Overall, Guster has stayed true to what makes them such a beloved band to begin with – solid songwriting. While the evolution of their sound may bother some long time fans, the complexity and beauty of their new musical arrangements more than makes up for what’s missing. Reaching deep within themselves and challenging one another musically and lyrically, Guster has sent us a beautiful piece of art that can be enjoyed for hours on end. Should the band continue to grow and evolve in this vein, the future looks very bright for Guster fans the world over. If there is one record you purchase this fall, it should be Easy Wonderful.

Ryo’s Rating: 8.5 (out of 10)

Track Listing
Architects and Engineers
Do You Love Me
On The Ocean
This Could All Be Yours
Stay With Me Jesus
Bad Bad World
This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart
What You Call Love
That’s No Way To Get To Heaven
Jesus & Mary
Do What You Want

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