Saturday, July 10, 2010

Good Catch - The McLovins

Love The McLovins?  Me too.  Luckily for us, their sophomore album, Good Catch, provides more reason to dig them than ever before.

What separates this album from the first (called Conundrum - check out my review here) is the difference of sound in the songs they're putting out there this time around.  The differences in each track are subtle enough that each one has a distinct McLovins sound, but they are also all unique.  I accredit this trait to the group's improved songwriting.

Another type of difference the group has embraced incorporating parts of other genres of music into their songs.  The tracks 'Milktoast Man' and '3:47' pay homage to reggae and tribal roots, respectively.  Although there's no serious shredding in 'Milktoast Man,' I find myself putting it on replay due to its off-beat catchiness.  '3:47' is a standout tune because of two reasons: the first is that I simply like the sound of the drums used to create a tribal feel to it, and the second is that while the group continues to jam well past 5 minutes in other tracks on the album, this one is a complete musical thought captured in less than two minutes.  Pretty cool.

Another standout tune is 'Virtual Circle'.  It's catchy, it's upbeat, and it rocks.  Then there's 'Bedhead Crystal Bugger': the rocker of the album.  This is the song that's going on my running playlist.  It's totally instrumental, but words for this one seems superfluous anyway.  There's more than enough going on that words would get in the way.

'The longest track on the album is 'Deep Monster Trance' (almost 12 minutes long!) - and it's exactly what it says.  This song takes you through a series of different and engaging musical segments.  During the first two minutes of the song, there is a very faint conversation and noise in the background of a spacey intro jam - it seems as if there's surrounding life outside of the music that seems impossible to tune into.  And, voilĂ !  Hello, name origination.  The music launches into a catchy melody with lyrics followed by a fast-paced shred session.   A cool-down jam to follow, and with a reprise of the melody and jam to boot, you've got yourself the bare bones structure of the song.  Confused?  Go listen.  It speaks for itself. 

Here's a live version from Boston in October '09:

I tend to avoid virtually all studio albums of my favorite jam bands (read: Phish, the Grateful Dead) because they always fail to capture the energy and passion that is put on display during live shows.  It's a given that the studio albums are never as good as the live version.  On Good Catch, however, there's an intensity and energy to the jams that impresses me.  Not only do I frequently pull out the McL's studio albums for a listen, but I enjoy them as I would a live show.

So cheers.  Let's have a listen!

Peace, love, and noodles for everyone!

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