Guster's Sixth Album "Easy Wonderful" Review
Guster’s newest album release “Easy Wonderful” is an outstanding piece of alternative and groundbreaking rock exemplifying the musicianship and maturity of the band. This is Guster’s sixth studio album and combines the elevation in abilities and thoughtfulness of Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner especially.
The recently released and intricately produced video for the single, “Do You Love Me” is a perfect visual depiction of the energy of the band and the new release “Easy Wonderful”. This vibrant and colorful stop motion production brings the humor and musical talents of the band members to the forefront to highlight the catchy melodies that has fueled the band for more than a decade around the country through multiple tours.
This album reaches from pop melodic genius in “Bad, Bad World” and “Architects and Engineers” to the moodscape amplified groove “On the Ocean”. Tracks flow well bringing yet another collection of memories to older songs but backdrops to build new events with the subtleties of trumpets and lead guitar that has been a main stay of the two most recent albums.
Percussion aspects of the new album are still driven by the occasional hand drums of Brian Rosenworcel but have also evolved many drum kit bases for rhythm but are carefully designed to continue the momentum of the songs.
Perhaps most astounding about the new album is the vocal challenges set forth by Ryan Miller including difficult highs,
accomplished harmonies, and expeditious back-up settings that give the listener the sense of effort and care that was put into making these songs stand out from the discography of the band. Adam Gardner lead spots for vocals are slim but rewarding and refreshing.
The band’s fan base has also continued to grow steadily from the environmental activism that has spread through dozens of popular acts, merchandise giveaways from their web site, and free downloads along the way. The substitution of Luke Reynolds for outgoing Joe Pisapia has brought a youthful exuberance to the utility of the band but created an era capsule as this new album was the last Pisapia aided production.
Instrumentation on “Easy Wonderful” is varied and adventurous. Pianos come in a plenty but do not take room away from carefully crafted space for didgeridoo and harmonica.The emotions of the songs stem from the perspectives of the writer but adapt to the feelings of the listeners - a Guster tradition.
The deluxe CD addition offers bonus tracks as a welcome treat. Tours are going on through 2011 and the show I attended in San Diego was an outstanding and comforting event knowing the band is not pulling any punches in their sacrifices of family time and fan commitment that is still running strong.