by: Stacy McKeigue
I can’t tell you how excited I was when I heard, around this time last year, that Guster was back in the studio recording their seventh album. They’re my favorite indie rock band, but most of their albums came out before I really got into them. So getting to experience that anticipation…being excited at the slow release of a track here and there…preordering the album… It was awesome.
But I’ll admit that I was also a little nervous. Their last album, Easy Wonderful, skirted a little too close to Christian rock for my taste. Guster has always had this laid-back, easy Caribbean feel. Personally, I think they’re best heard on the first warm day of spring, with the windows wide open and the stereo turned up. Easy Wonderful had some of that, especially with their songs “Architects and Engineers” and “On the Ocean.” And granted, they’ve always had at least one Biblical reference on every album. But Easy Wonderful went full-on Vacation Bible School with track after track about Jesus, Mary, Heaven…
And I don’t think I’m alone here, because one of the band’s members posted to the group’s Facebook in December 2013: “You should know that I am doing my best to not put the word “Jesus” in any songs on our new album.” The hashtag following that statement read “Is Guster a Christian band or what.”
Evermotion was released earlier this month, on January 13, and it is everything I had hoped for. This is truly Guster at their best. The album opens with “Long Night,” a song that makes you want to grab your friends, get in a car at eleven at night, and just drive. And that vibe keeps going through the rest of the album, weaving moments of carefree youth with deep nostalgia and personal reflection, and ending with the aptly named song “Farewell.”
One of my favorite songs is “Kid Dreams,” which caught my attention with the title alone. I was hoping for something along the lines of “One Man Wrecking Machine” from their Ganging Up On the Sun album, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a sepia-tinted reflection of high school days filled with daydreams about your crush, but being too shy to do anything about it. A very low-budget, nostalgic indie film feel, which is always good in my book.
The likelihood of this album making it onto my iPod is extremely high, considering it’s already there and I’ve played several of the songs quite a few times since last Tuesday. Maybe I’m biased, but I’m giving this one five out of five bongos, partly because I love the songs and partly because I’m so happy to see the band back to making the kind of music it does best.
And don’t forget to check out the video on their Facebook that shows how the cover art was made. It’s pretty awesome.
Songs to check out: Kid Dreams, Doin’ It By Myself, Gangway, Simple Machine