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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 23, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Synthetic sounds disappoint in Guster’s new album

"Evermotion"

Guster

Back in early November, Guster made it clear to its fans that it wouldn’t stop creating new music as long as it was a band. Staying true to its word, the group, which was formed in the early 1990s in a Tufts University dorm room, released its newest edition, “Evermotion,” to its already lengthy album streak.

Guster has been known to change its sound between albums. It’s played with bongos, horn sections, banjos and even a live string section, but “Evermotion” doesn’t offer anything spectacular. While the album doesn’t have any bad songs, it doesn’t have any memorable ones either. Guster has changed to a much more mellow sound in this album, comparable to its earlier albums.

“Evermotion” features a greater number of synthesized sounds than any previous album. This is the only exclusive effect in this album, but it is so minimal that it hardly makes an impact. If anything, the synthesized quality makes the music blend more into the pop category, rather than giving Guster the defining sound it usually captures in its albums.

One of the most recognizable aspects of Guster’s band dynamic was its singing duo Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner. In the early days, the vocalists took turns leading songs while the other found amazing harmonies. In “Evermotion,” Gardner’s singing is nonexistent, giving one less dimension to Guster’s sound. Guster is also famous for its amazing bongo drummer, who used to be present in every song. In the past couple of albums, the amount of bongo drumming has decreased significantly, again giving this band one less defining characteristic.

“Evermotion” was a different, more relaxed album than Guster ever had before, but in creating such a calming, synthesized sound, the band strayed from its roots. As a result, the album is uncharacteristically unmemorable. Guster will probably not stop creating new albums for years to come, but hopefully it will be able to find a sound that strays from the normal, like its fans are so used to hearing.