Ok, so admittedly, CDs are on the way out, and MP3s are what our generation uses to listen to music. But that doesn’t mean albums should be ignored entirely. Albums allow artists to arrange their music in an intentional order, and allow you to appreciate the songs that won’t become singles. Also, I get review copies of albums, and so I listened to them.

Guster “Keep It Together”

I first heard of Guster when my older brother Aaron played “Goldfly” for me some years back. I’ve been listening to them since then, and when the CT got a review copy of their new album, “Keep it Together,” I grabbed it as soon as I saw it.

After the first time I listened to it I was disappointed, but it is only fair to say that my expectations were unreasonably high.

Let me start by saying that the album is catchy and fun to listen to, but isn’t anything particularly exciting. The second track, “Careful,” is one of the highlights of the album for me, as it is reminiscent of the sound I’ve grown to love from “Parachute” and “Goldfly.”

As the album progresses, though, there is less and less of this older sound, and the songs themselves seem disjointed.

This change in style caught me off guard, but as I listen to the album over and over again, it grows on me. Even though I am growing accustomed to the change, my initial disappointment stays with me. It is worth noting that I did not instantly fall in love with the album. That isn’t to say it is an acquired taste, and that listening to it multiple times is the solution for every problem I might have. It doesn’t flow nearly as well as their earlier albums, and it doesn’t keep up the same levels of energy that were so appealing on “Goldfly,” but after careful consideration, it is only fair to say that “Keep It Together” is a fine addition to my music collection.

Rob Dougan “Furious Angels”

Over the summer, my friend Dennis IMed me and told me to look into the album “Furious Angels” by Rob Dougan. He even offered to send me the album in MP3 format, but, not wanting to violate the ever important copyright laws of this country and, more importantly, having a slow internet connection, I just kind of forgot about it.

Luckily, it was waiting here for me when I got back. Review copies of CDs are just as free as MP3s, but substantially more legal.

Remembering my friend’s suggestion, I popped that album in and listened to it. Dougan’s music was featured in “The Matrix Reloaded,” so obviously I was expecting pretty thorough techno influences. What caught me off-guard, in a good way, was how well the modern techno influences were blended with more classic musical styles. And when I say classic, I’m talking Bach, not the Beatles.

“Angels” is filled with great composition, but the pinnacle of the album is Dougan’s voice. It seemed, at first, a bit too rough, but I got past that quickly. The roughness adds depth to his voice that distinguishes it from most of the other vocalists I’ve heard.

All in all, Dennis was right in recommending this album, and it stands out as one of the best albums I’ve heard recently.

EVE 6 “It’s all in your head”

I remember Eve 6 from back in the mid-’90s s when “Inside Out” played on the radio so frequently I could sing it in my sleep. If I recall correctly, they were sort of an alt-pop group whose music was catchy in an almost Top-40 sort of way. Since then, they have moved toward a harder sound, louder to be sure. This shift takes them away from that Top-40 sound and closer to something akin to the rap/metal/rock sound of today with a little bit of punk thrown in. Now, I’m not suggesting that they’ve become a punk group – just that they’ve migrated some of their sound in that direction. The harder sound suits them well, although they could certainly do to add a bit more. What’s good about this change is that it moves them into a more unique musical place. They aren’t crowding in on any other style, but settling into the areas in between.

I’ll be honest, this particular sound isn’t really my thing. I’m not going to listen to this album more than maybe once or twice over the next year. But, I can recognize that it’s more a difference of taste than a lack of quality. If you liked old Eve 6, and you like the sort of stuff that’s popular on alternative radio today, you’ll probably find this both refreshing and familiar. Otherwise, it’s best to steer clear of this album.

Powell can be reached at lpowell@campustimes.org.

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