Guster â€“ Ganging Up on the Sun / 2006 Reprise / 12 Tracks / http://www.guster.com / http://www.repriserecords.com / Reviewed 25 July 2006
Guster have been the darlings of the indie scene for quite a few years. It has been a while since their name dropped often from the lips of fans and critics alike, so to hear a discâ€™s worth of new matter â€“ â€œGanging Up on the Sunâ€ â€“ is a good thing. The discâ€™s opening track â€œLightning Rodâ€ quietly opens, with the lead vocals moving in the vein of acts like Coldplay and even Devendra Banhart. The Guster of 2006 is more mature than they were just a few short years ago, and this intelligent grand of indie rock parallels anything that acts like Death Cab for Cutie or Modest Mouse could put out.
Even though â€œSatelliteâ€ is steeped in the same slower style of â€œLightning Rodâ€, the arrangement that Guster uses for this track belies this morose sound for something that is almost grooveworthy. Even though the style only weakly points to it, â€œSatelliteâ€ shows that Guster in some way is influenced by the psychedelic that came a few decades before the band started releasing music. The band recaptures some of their indie-pop roots with â€œManifest Destinyâ€, a track that has bouncy synths creating the atmosphere of the track as much as do the drums and bas on the tracks. Again, this is a solid track for Guster, and shows that the band is capable of a wide variety of styles.
â€œOne Man Wrecking Machineâ€ is a blend of the slower style and the bouncy indie-pop of previous tracks on â€œGanging Up On The Sunâ€, a move that unites the different threads of the disc as well as keeping individuals interesting in what Guster puts on this disc. In a sense, â€œOne Man Wrecking Machineâ€ ties Guster to the early nineties style of alternative rock. The track just reminds me of the act Polaris (known for the â€œAdventures of Pete & Peteâ€ them) more than anything. The band is even able to grab only the rapidly rising star of alt-country with their instrumentation during â€œThe Captainâ€. What results is a quaint bit of Americana that will infect listenersâ€™ brains and not let go throughout the trackâ€™s runtime. Guster may have been out of action for a few years but â€œGanging Up on the Sunâ€ is a disc that shows nothing in the way of rust. With hit after hit, individuals can get right back into Guster without much in the way of a learning curve.
Top Tracks: The Captain, Satellite