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REVIEW: Guster begins transition with latest release “Evermotion”

Guster has been a staple of the indie-pop music scene with their infectious, mellow vibe since they debuted their first album in 1995. After releasing six albums over the past two decades, Guster’s new album “Evermotion” is the group’s first release in four years.

The album couldn’t have arrived in a more timely manner—just in time to kick off a new decade as a band. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the new album since the band announced their collaboration with producer Richard Swift, The Shins’ keyboardist and The Black Keys’ bassist. This new album promised to be a reinvention of a beloved sound.

The album, aptly named “Evermotion” for its lack of resolve, can best be described as a celestial journey of synths and gorgeous harmonies; however, at certain times the album gets lost in the pursuit of its own complexities. It’s by no means a dud, yet the experimental nature of the album makes it less memorable than others.

The album opens with the ethereal stylings of an electric guitar and twinkling xylophone melodies in the song “Long Night.” The album ebbs and flows with songs like “Gangway,” reminiscent of Guster’s older music, to songs like “Farewell,” a full immersion in the experimental sound.

Intermixed with the angelic undertones of the guitar and the xylophone, the album has an almost tropical vibe sometimes with the faraway sounds of a marimba and bongo drums thrown into the mix.

Musically, the album has a hard time rooting itself in a specific sound, but lyrically it holds its own. Themes found in “Evermotion” range from the hurt of an unraveling love to going through the motions to deeper meanings of everyday life. A marked characteristic of the songs on “Evermotion” is their vague, layered lyrics. Purposefully left up to interpretation, the full power of the album cannot be felt in the first few listens.

Highlights of the album include the fun, beat-driven top single “Simple Machine” and experimental, power-ballad “Kid Dreams.” These two songs stand out not only musically, but lyrically they reach for a deeper dimension.

“Evermotion” is certainly a departure from Guster’s beloved indie-pop sound, but bands are ever evolving with their music because it’s the only way to stay relevant. Guster is in transition. They are crafting a new perspective from which to approach their music. While “Evermotion” has its moments, the new sound still needs more time to settle.

For fans of: Phoenix and MGMT Rating: 6 out of 10 Favorite Track: “Simple Machine”

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