Guster – Ganging Up on the Sun (CD)

Guster – 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 disc’s worth of new matter – “Ganging Up on the Sun” – is a good thing. The disc’s opening track “Lightning Rod” 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 “Satellite” is steeped in the same slower style of “Lightning Rod”, 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, “Satellite” 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 “Manifest Destiny”, 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.

“One Man Wrecking Machine” is a blend of the slower style and the bouncy indie-pop of previous tracks on “Ganging Up On The Sun”, 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, “One Man Wrecking Machine” ties Guster to the early nineties style of alternative rock. The track just reminds me of the act Polaris (known for the “Adventures of Pete & Pete” them) more than anything. The band is even able to grab only the rapidly rising star of alt-country with their instrumentation during “The Captain”. What results is a quaint bit of Americana that will infect listeners’ brains and not let go throughout the track’s runtime. Guster may have been out of action for a few years but “Ganging Up on the Sun” 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

Rating: 7.3/10

[JMcQ]

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