Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Dave Matthews Band, Away From the World

Three years in the making, Dave Matthews Band's Away From the World is produced by Steve Lillywhite, who produced the band's first three studio albums.  The lineup of the band has undergone changes but has remained strong.  Tim Reynolds contributes to the album on electric guitar. Replacing saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who died in 2008, are trumpeter Rashawn Ross and saxophonist Jeff Coffin.  The album is musically solid, balancing between rocking and acoustic tracks and creating a more favorable impression overall than their previous album.

The album's lyrics include themes of love, being yourself, and making a difference in the world, and can be on the cheesy side.  I always think of Dave Matthews Band as being more about the music than the words, with the occasional song that really gets it right lyrically, so this is par for the course.  For example, the lyrics to "Gaucho" mostly consist of:  "Gotta do much more than believe/If we wanna see the world change."  This seems to be an overplayed sentiment in songs.

"Sweet" is my favorite song on the album.  Dave plays a ukelele and sings poignantly high notes.  "The Riff" follows, with some good lyrics, including, "Why waste time staring at the TV set/Like I got dreams to kill and people to forget."  The song closes with a blistering guitar solo by Tim Reynolds.  Another standout is "Drunken Soldier," a satisfying album closer at almost ten minutes long.  Dave sings, "Fill up your head and fill up your heart and take your shot/Don't waste time trying to be something you're not."

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

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