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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    Counting Crows keep their days of the weekend straight and separate. Saturday nights are heavy, high energy, invincible and even boastful. Sunday mornings are light, reflective, hopeful and sometimes longing for something that isn’t there.

    “”1492″” rips right into the Saturday night section of the album with a drilling drum roll and super charged, hot guitar licks, which sounds slightly unlike Counting Crows but fades into familiarity. The Saturday night feeling surges forward through the next three tracks. After “”Hanging Tree”” and its smoking guitar lead comes “”Los Angeles,”” which is bluesy and a bit slower and delivers front man Adam Duritz’s desensitization of trying to survive in L.A.

    Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings
    Counting Crows
    Geffen
    3 stars

    The track “”Cowboys”” closes out the Saturday night section and is arguably the best song on the album. The style is very reminiscent of ’90s Counting Crows with its driving beat and sense of urgency and nostalgia woven through the intensity of grainy guitar and fluttering piano.

    Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings slows down considerably like a lazy Sunday morning with “”Washington Square.”” Acoustic guitar and piano intertwine each other and pick up a plucking banjo, letting the track float by like a soft breeze.

    “”On a Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago”” highlights a naked piano as the only instrumentation and Duritz’s somber, crooning vocals.

    Proving that they’ve still got it, Counting Crows, remind you that you’ve got a great weekend to look forward to.

    – Kelli Hart


    Musical longevity isn’t necessarily bad if it ultimately leads to influencing the future of music. While our parents may tout Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones or Carole King as having had lasting impacts on their lives and visible ones on the careers of current artists, who will our generation be able to flaunt? Kanye West’s lyrical rhyming, Ryan Adams’ prolific forays, BjÇôrk’s eccentric melodies? With the over-a-decade-long sensational career of Dan Bejar, aptly known as Destroyer, our musical legacy will hopefully be a beautifully crafted one indeed.

    Trouble in Dreams
    Destroyer
    Merge Records
    4 stars

    “”Blue Flower/Blue Flame,”” the first track off Trouble in Dreams, Bejar’s 10th release, the happy inflection to his oddly, yet delightfully accented vocals introduce the album. While the staccato guitar notes carry the song along, his hokey lyrics lack the craft his voice exudes as he chirps, “”a woman by another name is not a woman.””

    Where Bejar’s lyrics failed in the opening track, they succeed in the profound “”Foam Hands.”” Musings like “”Me and the king have been steadily growing apart”” slowly grow as simple guitar riffs melodically weave in and out, eventually ending in an instrumental break emphasized by moving violins and whistles.

    While Bejar tends to compose delicate pieces, “”The State”” kicks off with a rousing drum roll and country-western tinged guitar lines. His vocals seem engulfed by the showboating of the drum, an act hard to pull off with the strength and power generally behind Bejar’s singing.

    “”Leopard of Honor”” returns Trouble in Dreams to standard Destroyer form as a track full of lyrics so pretty, yet seemingly so meaningless. Bejar whispers “”pirouettes across the sky’s face is where you’ll find me”” over a softly strummed guitar, leading into a stronger verse and chorus. The track is fleshed out and completed with a steadily punched piano ironing out the backbeat and keeping the smorgasbord of instruments in line as Bejar takes a breather, only to proceed to finish the track with a series of “”da da dums.””

    “”Libby’s First Sunrise”” ends the album with handclaps, light cymbal taps and prettily played guitars that slowly build, as if the sun is coming up. The song tells the story of young na’veté as Bejar sings “”You’ve been wasted from the day/ of wandering and boozing and sleeping outside”” and ends the track with “”Oh, the light…”” as instruments fade out as if the daily sunrise has finally concluded.

    With many years as a musician tucked into his belt, Bejar’s musical outlet in Destroyer is an act worth parading around and one worth learning from.

    – Jamie Ross

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