Ganging Up / Sun Import
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Lightning Rod|
|3. Manifest Destiny|
|4. One Man Wrecking Machine|
|5. The Captain|
|6. The New Underground|
|7. Ruby Falls|
|9. Empire State|
|10. Dear Valentine|
|11. The Beginning Of The End|
|12. Hang On|
Guster's playful yet literate, spirited and largely acoustic pop-rock returns with the endearing college favorite's first studio album in three years. Ganging Up On The Sun produced by Ron Aniello [Lifehouse, Barenaked Ladies and Guster's previous album, Keep It Together], the band, and new member Joe Pisapia retains the unconventional, melodic pop craftsmanship and flawless harmonies that have garnered Guster one of the most devoted fan followings in the country. Guster brightens up the summer with Ganging Up On The Sun.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In truth, there is not one cut on the disc that is not first rate, I am never tempted to hit the skip button. Moods range from the rockin'; "The Beginning of the End" and "The New Underground" to the quiet; "Dear Valentine" and "Hang On" to the epic; "Ruby Falls." In between are pop gems like "Satellite," "Manifest Destiny," and "One Man Wrecking Machine." "C'mon" and "The Captain" add the alt-country tinge to the disc which rounds out the sound to perfection.
Lyrically the band is sharp, full of catchy phrases and clever lines. For example: "I want to pull it apart and put it back together / I want to relive all my adolescent dreams / Inspired by true events on movie screens / I am a one man wrecking machine." Or perhaps this gem, "Hang on / When all is shattered / When all your hope is gone / Who knows, How long / There is a twilight, A nighttime and a dawn."
You won't find a better set of songs anywhere. It's is all here, songcraft, production, mood and that elusive "sonic something" that separates good from really good. Guster is certainly in the really good category and maybe even hedging towards great. You can listen to this music over and over, always finding something new and interesting. It will draw you in, quietly at first, but once it has you it won't let you go.
Why do bands with two lead singers always have to consolidate into one lead singer? It's usually the record companies that force this to make the music more radio-friendly. Same thing happened with Vertical Horizon. I love Adam's voice, and I'm whole-heartedly disappointed that Adam sings lead on ONLY ONE TRACK. I love Ryan and all, but his voice does get a bit whiney when it's not balanced out by Adam's lower, fuller voice, so when you have an album of tracks almost entirely sung by Ryan's high nasal voice (and he does sing particularly high on this album), your ears start to ache a little....
On to the tracks: At first, I loved Satellite, but after a number of listens, I realized it is very tedious and repetitive. Lightning Rod is just boring and a bizarre way to open up an album. Manifest Destiny and One-Man Wrecking Machine are decent songs, but way too poppy and radio-ish. The Captain is a pretty good song, touching on the same feel as Jesus On The Radio. The New Underground is a pretty cool song, having a real 80's punkish feel to it. Ruby Falls is trying to be the Come Downstairs & Say Hello of the album, but unlike Come Downstairs, it is very slow-moving and unmelodic. The tune of C'Mon sounds like it was designed to appeal to teenage girls, and I dont think it should be anything more than a B-side (and it drives me crazy how Ryan sings the word like "C'maawn" as if he's a New Yorker). Empire State is another slow-moving track. Dear Valentine is a good song, and the last two are OK....
All in all, this album is VERY slow-moving and unexciting. I will continue to love Guster and I don't care that their sound is evolving, but I wish they would go back to the more exciting song-writing of the previous 4 albums...
Let me start off by saying that I am a HUGE Guster fan. I've seem them live and have every album and a whole collection of early works, TV Videos, and live sets. My whole family has looked forward to the latest Guster release. We are Guster promoters and have a plethora of Guster memorabilia.
"Ganing Up on the Sun" is not a bad album. If somebody hears one of the songs from this album on the radio or satellite and is curious, this is a great album to introduce you to Guster. I doubt you would be disappointed by purchasing it.
That being said, for the pure Guster fan, this album represents a departure from earlier works. It is more of a "mood" album - you won't find much that reminds you of "Fa Fa" or "Barrel of a Gun" on this album. It has a good mix of sounds, styles, and tempos, but will ultimately leave you wanting more.
The big changes I've noticed are the fact that the bongos are pretty much completely gone in favor of the "normal" drum set. Nobody can really blame Brian for this, I'm sure all purist Guster fans by now have seen how badly his hands bleed after every concert. But when the change is made to more traditional drums, the sound changes along with it, for good or bad. Also, Joe Pisapia plays a much more relevant role in this album and there are lots more piano, keyboards and banjo. That isn't so much what the original Guster sounded like, but is a sound Guster is heading towards. Maybe they are trying to sound more like the mainstream bands such as "Bare Naked Ladies" (personally, I hope not).
And I never thought I'd say this (based on some of the songs from the original albums), but it is actually sad that Adam only has a lead singing role on one song on this album. A lot of first time Guster listeners don't even realize there is more than one lead singer. Adam is a good singer and is part of what holds Guster together. It is a shame for him to be diminished on this album, even though Ryan has a more marketable voice.
If I were trying to win over a new friend to the Guster style of music, I would NOT choose this album. To me it's hands down to give them "Lost and Gone Forever" - what an AMAZING album. That's why it is a 5 star album on Amazon which in any music genre is hard to come by.
"Keep it Together" is a close second with a lot of good songs. It pains me to give this CD only a 3 star rating. I want it to be so much more. I want Guster to still be that one band that has that certain something no one else does. But sadly, this album, due to many factors, falls short of their earlier works.
If you are new to Guster, skip past "Ganging Up on the Sun" and start your musical journey with "Lost and Gone Forever" - it will be well worth it!
For the hardcore Guster fan, "Ganging Up on the Sun" has several tracks you will add to your favorites list, most likely all within the first 5 songs on the CD.
Guster has set the bar very high for themselves with their past musical works of genius. They are a great band and I look forward to their future works!
For the uninitiated, Guster was a three piece (Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian Rosenworcel) who met at University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. They've since added a fourth member, Joe Pisapia. Each member is a multi-instrumentalist - and the band mixes the traditional rock instruments at times with horns, tribal rhythm instruments, and banjo. Make no mistake - this is ACCESSIBLE music - music that incorporates a wealth of variety to enhance the greater whole, not overpower it and alienate. And, of course, Guster's vocal harmonies are among the best of bands today. Miller handles the majority of lead vocals, but Gardner is a quite capable vocalist as a lead, perhaps underused.
Ganging Up On The Sun includes songs that are introspective; songs to be listened to and enjoyed alone or with a loved one - other songs are party songs, yet somehow more cerebral than all of that. That's the strength of Guster - the music is not simple, but you enjoy it FOR that, instead of in spite of it. The vocals sound effortless on this record - as if they don't have to try to make a perfect recording.
"Lightning Rod" includes some of the harmony that Guster does so well - a soft guitar plucking, nice atmospheric background, and Miller's soft vocal. Guster showing off its softer and sensitive side. "Ruby Falls" does it even better.
"Satellite" starts off with an acoustic strumming reminiscent of "My Sweet Lord", but continues with a bouncy beat. This is a single with all the Guster elements at the fore - great songwriting! "One Man Wrecking Machine" continues this to great success, as does "C'Mon".
"Manifest Destiny" features the 'other side' of the Guster sound - a plucky, upbeat sound - which is brought to the max in "The Captain" (with banjo in the mix!)
"The New Underground" shows the flexibility of the band even more - the sound is fuller, lower, and a tad darker - with guitar stabs reminiscent of Rush's Grace Under Pressure record.
"Dear Valentine" is one of the few songs with Gardner as the lead - which makes the song worthwhile for that alone - he brings something different to the Guster sound - but it's still unmistakably Guster. And great horn work in the mix.
All in all, this is a WONDERFUL album that must be heard to appreciate. Listen to it several times and you will fall in love with it.
If you love this record - look at "Keep It Together" and "Lost and Gone Forever" - their most recent two albums prior - as they're bound to capture you as well.
Highly recommended. I'd say 4.5 stars out of 5 if I could. Loses a half star for slightly weaker songs in the final third of the record (except for Dear Valentine).