Moving at their own pace, Guster dropped their seventh album, Evermotion January 9, 2015. The first four weeks following the release has given listeners time to digest their latest work and first release upon leaving a major label. The shift in attitude is evident as the label change has produced a much happier more buoyant sound. Bringing back many of the vibes found in earlier productions, Evermotion is a collection of sweet songs and evocative lyrics.
Produced by Richard Swift, who has also worked with The Shins, Foxygen, and Stereolab, the album bulldozes inhibitions, propelling the band to a harder-charging, more freewheeling sound. Still clinging to its pop-y college rock-rock ready acoustic guitar roots, Evermotion is bolstered by new layers of sequencers, synth pads, and sweet harmonies. It’s a refreshing uplift in sound from some of their previous work with tinkling xylophones in the first track “Long Night” and the bring back of bongos in “Doin it by Myself” and “Never Coming Down”. There’s even a herald to the 80’s with a fun synth drum set in “Simple Machine”. The sound is undeniably more pop than Guster’s earlier albums and makes for a good listen, but a good second listen is required to digest the lyrics.
Guster’s new tracks are pleasant enough and, in comparison to past works, are much happier sounding, but there is still a lingering sense of melancholy that the band can’t quite seem to shake. Several listens are needed to get the full effect of the messages in the buried within the tracks, but they reach out to listeners in a very relatable way. “Kid Dreams” and “It is What it is” are reminiscent of those times everyone experiences as an awkward confused youth but come to realize shape the person you are today. There’s a note of bitter sweetness to these songs as the lyrics recognize a present happiness though it may have stemmed from less than ideal situations. It’s a wrap up of the entire album as it’s clear that Guster has found some recent happiness, or new burst of creative energy. Maybe it’s symbolic of their recent label depart or a nicely crated set of their time growing and experimenting through the years. Overall Evermotion is a delightful album that’s worth a listen or at the very least a good hoorah for Guster’s leap of faith and positive outcome.