Guster Returns With New CD "Evermotion"!

Mention the name "Guster" to most rock fans and you're bound to receive more than a few blank looks.  Even those familiar with the band may be hard-pressed to put a name with the music, or a face with the name, because there are fewer bands these days who've managed been as successful and, yet, as anonymous as this Boston four-piece.

But if you play someone "One Man Wrecking Machine" (from 2006's Ganging Up On The Sun), blank expressions often turn to sudden looks of recognition upon hearing that greatest of opening lines "I built a time machine, I'm gonna see the homecoming queen/Take her to the Christmas dance, maybe now I'll get in her pants...whatever."

On the surface, such a line might be construed as flippant, but on the other, it's a starkly realistic portrait of teenage desire and our lifelong quest to achieve such desires, no matter how old we might be.  It's that ability to take a seemingly crass lyrical quip and fill it with just enough melancholy that it cuts the listener to the core because every last one of us has been there...

Having browsed the band's press materials for their new studio album (their seventh), Evermotion, it is obvious the band set out to reinvent themselves just enough to keep things fresh for them, their fans, and the new fans they have yet to make.  The end result is an album that is both haunting and playful, unrestrained and guarded, and, most importantly, experimental but not so much that it becomes self-indulgent.

On the surface, this is the album the Flaming Lips could have made, I suppose, if Wayne Coyne hadn't bought into his own technicolor hype.  While the two bands share a certain amount of sonic territory, what sets Guster apart is a built-in BS detector that keeps their music honest.

I would suggest not playing album-opener "Long Night" for Coyne unless you want to see a grown man slap himself in the forehead for not having come up with the song first.  "Endlessly" aims itself skyward with a lithe, whimsical instrumentation that recalls Tango In The Night-era Fleetwood Mac.

"Doin' It By Myself" and "Lazy Love" weave multiple textures and colors into deceptively simple hooks that will no doubt be a highlight of the band's live shows in support of this album.

And just when you think you've got this album figured out, along comes "Simple Machines", a minimal retro synth ditty that slowly, beautifully unfolds over the course of three minutes.

"Expectation" sounds as if it was written for a Wes Anderson film.  Not to take any work away from Mark Mothersbaugh, but Wes, if you're reading this...give it a listen.

Album closer "Farewell" comes darn close to taking one's breath away without even trying, reminding even the most jaded listener of the child-like wonder that can be expressed by grown men who've chosen the path less traveled and, as a result, somehow escaped ever having to grow up.

Let's hope Guster never does.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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