Submerged just under the mainstream surface for 15 years, Guster has churned out consistent adult alternative music for a loyal grassroots audience. The Boston band known for its live performances and liberal bootlegging policy has now quietly honed latest studio album Ganging Up On The Sun. Startling notice should be taken that this band has come a long way from the jam band roots of two acoustic guitars and some bongos.The album is stylistically far-reaching, from the atmospheric moodiness of â€šÃ„ÃºLightning Rodâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºEmpire Stateâ€šÃ„Ã¹ to the twangy, bluegrass banjo track â€šÃ„ÃºThe Captain.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Opus â€šÃ„ÃºRuby Falls,â€šÃ„Ã¹ with its gorgeous acid jazz trumpet solo, will moisten your cheeks. Roadblocks such as having an average vocalist are bypassed with the use of textured vocal harmonies and humor. Bright and fuzzy guitars abound throughout the album to good effect. Guster has played to its strengths and added a sonic profundity. The saloon piano playing of â€šÃ„ÃºManifest Destinyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ resembles the unusual pop charm of Ben Folds. Single â€šÃ„ÃºSatelliteâ€šÃ„Ã¹ educes the feeling of looping through a carnival ride. Guster has made an emotional experience with virtually every track. The only blip encountered is with the final song, a truly pedestrian track with dull, moaning vocals, ironically called â€šÃ„ÃºHang On,â€šÃ„Ã¹ given that it makes you want to exit early.
Never as trendy to hipsters as, say, jangle pop contemporaries the Shins, hopefully this album will garner Guster attention for the grown up warmth and feelings that persist.