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Keep It Together
     

Keep It Together

5.0 3
by Guster
 
This Boston-based trio might well be the mellowest party band in rock history, what with their emphasis on acoustic guitar and simple hand percussion -- not to mention an exceedingly sunny disposition. With their second major-label release, Guster have amped up their typically laid-back approach, expanding the sonic palette and turning the volume up -- on occasion --

Overview

This Boston-based trio might well be the mellowest party band in rock history, what with their emphasis on acoustic guitar and simple hand percussion -- not to mention an exceedingly sunny disposition. With their second major-label release, Guster have amped up their typically laid-back approach, expanding the sonic palette and turning the volume up -- on occasion -- to wake-the-neighbors level. That's most obvious on songs like "Red Oyster Cult," a surreal layering of falsetto vocals and staccato rhythms (for which percussionist Brian Rosenworcel actually employs a full kit, sticks and all). Likewise, "Come Downstairs and Say Hello" unskeins in loopy circles, demonstrating a chummy looseness that's reminiscent of Yo La Tengo's mellower side. As ever, Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner throw in plenty of wink-and-a-nod vocal tricks -- particularly on the bluegrass-flavored "Jesus on the Radio" and the winsome "Ramona" (which made an earlier appearance on MTV2 Handpicked, Vol. 2). Not all of the digressions work out perfectly; for example, the synthesizer coating of "Homecoming King" rings a bit hollow, in light of the band's organic rooting. Still, given the surplus of memorable melodies and relatable tales -- "Amsterdam" sticks in the head long after the disc is back on the shelf -- Keep It Together is a natural high.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Vanderhoff
If there were any justice, Guster's underappreciated masterpiece, Lost and Gone Forever, would have elevated the band to superstar status, and the follow-up, Keep It Together, would have been one of the most hyped releases of 2003. But while the Boston trio has built up one of the most formidable grassroots followings in music through constant touring, powerful live performances, and a level of interaction with its fans that rivals any band in the biz, Keep It Together has the goods to finally make Guster a household name. While their two previous releases flourished through an almost bipolar combination of dark rockers and upbeat pop melodies married to biting lyrics, Keep It Together takes a different path for the most part, focusing on even-keeled love songs. From the album's low-key opener, "Diane," to the sunny shuffle of "Ramona," Guster displays its formerly hidden well-adjusted side. Guest musician Joe Pisapia embellishes the group's already flawless harmonies on the immediately memorable "Careful," and contributes vocals and banjo to the rootsy "Jesus on the Radio," which he also co-wrote. Ben Kweller shows up on the album's official closer, the surprisingly reserved "I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today." Fans of the band's quirkier moments aren't left behind either, with "Red Oyster Cult" featuring prog rock guitar, ELO harmonies, jingle bells, and a whistled solo worthy of the Scorpions. But there's no arguing that the high point of this album is the impossibly catchy "Amsterdam." Breaking all of Guster's self-made rules (as it does throughout the album) by adding bass and a drum kit to the mix, the band combines a radio-ready yet experimental production style with power chords, layers of vocals, and screaming slide guitar for three and a half minutes of the finest pop
ock you're ever likely to hear. Keep It Together may not feature the emotional dynamics or track-by-track genius of Lost and Gone Forever, but it has something that its predecessor didn't: an unabashed pop anthem that dares you to sit still. Whether the members of Guster do in fact become international rock superstars remains to be seen, but so long as they continue to make great albums like this one, their ever-expanding group of fans should be more than happy.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/24/2003
Label:
Reprise / Wea
UPC:
0093624848622
catalogNumber:
48486

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Guster   Primary Artist
Ron Aniello   Banjo,Guitar,Mellotron
Jim Hoke   Clarinet,Harmonica,Saxophone,Brass,Woodwind
Randy Leago   Clarinet,Brass,Woodwind
Roger Moutenot   Jew's Harp
Neal Rosengarden   Flugelhorn
David Henry   Cello
Joe Pisapia   Banjo,Vocals
Brandon Mason   Trumpet
Jacob Lawson   Violin
Ben Kweller   Guitar,Piano,Vocals

Technical Credits

Ron Aniello   Producer
Roger Moutenot   Producer,Engineer
David Henry   Producer,Engineer
Eric Seraphin   Engineer
Michael Stook   Contributor

Customer Reviews

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Keep It Together 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guster has explored and expanded upon their own sound and I love it. Their use of instruments and harmonies is right on. The drummer, Brian, really shows his skills as a songwriter on this one too! 'Backyard' and 'Come Downstairs...' are wonderful, the kind of songs that give you chills.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this disc contains at least a half dozen tracks that are so thoroughly enjoyable and different from each other. The album starts off quite lively and mellows in the later tracks. the second half of the disc is absolute genius. fave's include 7,9,11,14. just wonderful music. cannot recommend enough.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this CD! Seriously... I do. I love it better than the non-limited edition version. Same songs, Sure... BUT... when you put the limited edition version into your computer, there are all sorts of great little tid-bits to enjoy! There's a fun Ryan Video Game, and the now-famous MEOW MIXES! Do yourself, and your music collection, a favor... BUY GUSTER'S KEEP IT TOGETHER!