With over 20 years under their collective belts, the members of Guster have made a conscious effort to reinvent their sound with their latest album, “Evermotion.” The band’s seventh studio album was released Jan. 13 on the group’s own independent record label, Ocho Mule (through Nettwerk Records). Leaving their trademark acoustic stylings behind, Guster has broken out in a fantastic new direction that few bands discover at this stage in their careers.
“Evermotion” kicks off with the beautiful “Long Night.” Building slowly over the course of nearly five minutes, it has so many layers for an eager listener to dig into. Twinkling xylophones, washed-out synths and subtle harmonies come together to make a seamless, beautiful song. The album only gets better from there.
“Endlessly” speeds along effortlessly, including a solid synth solo towards the end. With a neat, almost ‘80s sounding opening keyboard riff, “Doin’ It By Myself” peaks every time Ryan Miller sings out the song’s defiant refrain. “Lazy Love” is a pleasant calm before the storm that is the lead single off of “Evermotion,” “Simple Machine.” Devo-esque keyboards combined with the steady beat of Brian Rosenworcel give the song a wonderful feeling of urgency. It is sure to be a real force when played live.
“Simple Machine” seems to mark the end of the top-notch A side of “Evermotion.” The slow, deliberately paced “Expectations” ushers in the mellow-sounding B side. “Gangway” brings the acoustic guitar back to the forefront, sounding reminiscent of their last studio album, “Easy Wonderful.”
The last six tracks aren’t going to dig their hooks into you right from the start but they will definitely grow on you after a few go-arounds or five. The lyrics of “Kid Dreams” recall some melancholy early memories while a rich arrangement plays. It’s another song where you can notice a new or different sound that you didn’t catch before.
That is the real defining feature of “Evermotion.” At first glance, it hardly resembles a typical Guster album at all. Working with producer Richard Swift definitely helped Guster to move away from their roots and into uncharted territory. There are no acoustic guitars and hearty harmonies. It’s easy enough to be disappointed in the album when first listening just because it is so un-Gusterlike. But if you’re patient enough to spend some time really digging into each song, it’s an incredibly rewarding record.