Music Review: Dave Matthews Band – “Away From the World”
DMB’s fresh take on old sound
Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Reporter
Nearly four years after their last album was released, the Dave Matthews Band returns with their eighth studio offering. “Away From the World” boasts some of the bands most inventive tracks since their sophomore effort, “Crash.” The album is produced by Steve Lillywhite, and it is his first collaboration with the band since 1998.
The album first two tracks, “Broken Things” and “Mercy,” wouldn’t sound out of place next to “Crash Into Me” or the big and brassy “Belly Belly Nice,” which has a nice fiddle solo by Boyd Tinsley. The midsection provides listeners with the one of the album’s best tracks, “Gaucho,” a raucous ballad ending with a collective chant of “You gotta do much more than believe, if you wanna change things.” The album keeps things fairly balanced between softer ballads, like the ukulele-led “Sweet,” and slow-burn anthems like “The Rift.”
Lillywhite’s production gives the album a true-to-form ‘90s throwback feel with no experiments, no unnecessary risks. It is just pure, unadulterated DMB. The band’s trademark mix of Creole jazz, basement grunge and Americana folk makes for a relaxing mix of the old DMB sound that never wears out.
“Away From the World” stays more subtle, ambient and restrained than its predecessor, 2009’s bright and brassy “Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King.” The album, although heavily reminiscent of “Crash,” is never weighed down by its similarities to the 1996 LP.
The tracks range from somber, moody contemplations on the state of the world to spazzy, but in a good way, “Drunken Soldier.” Clocking in at nine minutes, 45 seconds, “Soldier” is a multilayered musical statement of parenthood. One part neo-Woody Guthrie, one part Pink Floyd and one part Zepplin, the song plays out like an alt-rock version of Erykah Badu’s “Out My Mind, Just in Time.”
“Away From the World” should be a welcome addition to any DMB fan’s collection, taking the best of their early work and making it fresh for new audiences.