Release Date: Oct 5, 2010
Record label: Republic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Over the course of 20 years, Guster – the original trio of guitarists/vocalists Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner and percussionist Brian Rosenworcel – has released six CDs. Three to four years have passed between the group’s last three respective recordings, however, and it has been four years since they dropped Ganging Up On The Sun. Over the past 10 years, though, the band has evolved from an eccentric acoustic trio into a full-blown pop band, which is abundantly clear on Easy Wonderful, Guster’s most hook-laden record to date.
Guster have long suffered under the misinformation that pegs them as some kind of jock-beloved jam band. Just because the drummer once played with his hands instead of sticks and you’re loved by jocks, that’s not enough to trap you in the jam band ghetto. Really, Guster are a pop band, pure and simple. A tuneful, thoughtful and consistently good pop band whose albums are reliably full of sweetly tender lyrics, richly crafted performances, and an overall feeling of warmth and peacefulness.
Guster doesn’t offer any surprises or major aesthetic departures on Easy Wonderful, their sixth studio album. The trio figured out early on in their career that hook-heavy power-pop is their forte, and they’ve built a respectable reputation and devoted following by staying fairly close to what it is that they do best. Guster’s albums, then, sink or swim based on the strengths of their songs and hooks, and Easy Wonderful is one of their most ingratiating sets.
Whether he’s singing about death, sadness, or heartbreak, Guster frontman Ryan Miller always seems unsinkably nice; he’s like Dave Matthews without the boozy bitter side. There’s something happily uncomplicated — and at times proudly uncool — about his band’s sixth album, Easy Wonderful, like a 1990s Baja hoodie that you can’t bring yourself to throw out. B Download These:Breezy ballad Do You Love Me? at amazon.comBad Bad World, about how the world isn’t so bad after all at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Review Summary: Guster growing old. Growing old kind of sucks. Although I’m only in my last year of college and thus fairly young in the scheme of things, everything’s already gone down hill – since my 21st birthday has passed me by, the only notable birthday event I have to look forward to is my 25th and a reduction in my car insurance rates, not to mention a decreased metabolism, more bills, and (hopefully but not really) a Monday-Friday job.
Earnest. That’s the word that comes to mind when discussing Guster and their catalogue. They have always had the ability to make familiar lyrics—“When you look in the mirror/Wish you were somebody else” from 2000’s “Fa Fa”—and motifs—the high school time machine framing of 2006’s “One Man Wrecking Machine”—something different with their musical conviction.