I'm listening to Guster's latest single, One Man Wrecking Machine / The New Underground.
Let me start by saying that I absolutely loved Manifest Destiny / Sorority Tears, their previous single. It has everything I love about Guster (despite the instrumentation lacking any Guster of old). It's a Ben Foldsy type of song, but very catchy and very upbeat.
One Man Wrecking machine will grow on me, I think. It is quirky, and has some of that guster-ish sound we love. I've heard a few bootlegs of it live, so its not completely new to me.
"I need a time machine / to go back to the homecoming queen". Perhaps Guster is in need of a new metaphor.
There is a lot of the "Keep it Together"-era of Guster in this song (one could argue we are still in that era). This will be the first single from their new record and will be making the rounds to radio stations. I don't think it has a chance of breaking through. While it may be good, it doesn't stick out.
The New Underground is the B-side from the album. Unfortunately, it is taken straight from the album (and is not an outtake). It is really electric. From a band that started out as two acoustic guitars and bongos, this is really weird. It's like taking Red Oyster Cult (a song from Their previous album) and removing any remaining hint of Guster. It's not as noisy as "The Beginning of the End" (also on bootlegs), but still pretty electric. If you told me they had Dick Dale do some guitars on this one, I'd believe you. It's really out of character.
I miss the Guster of old. While I can understand how 2 acoustic guitars and hand drums can get boring after 10-15 years. But, it's a shame that Guster had to lose any uniqueness in the process. They've always said they want to rock, but I have to wonder if its possible for this wuss-band to do so. It just doesn't fit.
Two more things to add. I've heard 3 tracks from the new album. I like 2 out of 3 of them, which thus far is a better "like to dislike" ratio than most of their previous albums.
And they'll be releasing a video on their web site every two weeks or so from now until the album release. It will document the recording process of their new album, entitled Ganging up on the Sun. I believe they said Hune 20th.