by: Charley (@ruperto2106)
Anyone who knows me knows how much of a huge Dave Matthews Band fan I am. Owning every studio release, live albums, Live Trax releases and poster collection much to my wife’s chagrin. There was much joy in my heart when I heard that DMB would be releasing their 8th studio release, following their 2009 release Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, Away From the World on September 11th. The album’s title comes from a line in the song “The Riff”:
Sitting in a box / away from the world out there.
According to Matthews, it relates to the idea that we are born and die alone and that “our body is our box.” The excitement for this CD also started to build when it was announced that Steve Lillywhite would be back to produce this upcoming album. Lillywhite was at the helm for DMB’s first three studio releases; Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, and Before These Crowded Streets.
I was able to listen to the album a few days early via Apple iTunes steaming it on line. Now I must admit, it’s hard to be impartial to do a review on a band I adore, but here it goes:
Coming in at under 54 minutes, this 11 track album brings something familiar and something new on this CD. The familiar being the pumped out jams such found on opening track “Broken Things” which starts with the lyrics “sometimes the road is crystal and sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind” gives us a great indicator of how this album is going to go. “Belly Belly” “Gaucho” (a song Matthews wrote for his son), “The Riff” and “Rooftop” all have the vibe we will be hearing them jam out to 15+ minute sessions on tour. The new part being hearing Dave actually sing on such tracks as “Belly Full”, which honestly reminded me of Eddie Vedder’s solo releases, If Only and Sweet, which for the first half sounds like a solo performance from Dave before the rest of the band comes (not a bad thing, but not a good thing either). Any one expecting the brash, in your face DMB we heard on Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King will be disappointed as there is more of a mix on this CD.
Away From The World also marks the first CD without founding member and co-writer LeRoi Moore who passed away back in 2008. His sax playing can be heard on the at the beginning and end of 2009’s Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. While his sax prowess is missed the band still has a cohesive sound that fans will enjoy. You hear this more on the second track “Belly Belly”
Dave’s vocals and guitars are on point, Carter Beauford is magnificent on drums, Stefan Lessard does an exception job on base, and Boyd Tinsley shreds on the electric violin. While not yet official members, Tim Reynolds excels once again on the electric guitar, Jeff Coffin (Saxaphone) and Rashawn Ross (trumpet) work a magnificent horn section, none more so then in “Gaucho”.
All in all this new batch of tunes will keep any DMB fan happy. With album highlights as the aforementioned and lead single “Mercy”, my personal favorite “Gaucho”, “Belly Belly” and “If Only”. Dave Matthews Band has satisfied our thirst for new original music.