HomeMusicDave Matthews Band’s Grown-Up View of Love and Dread

Dave Matthews Band’s Grown-Up View of Love and Dread


Dave Matthews Band albums seesaw between pleasure and angst. On the house entrance, with a companion and household, the songs discover affection, pleasure and ease. Beyond it, the broader world holds strife and dread. And trying inward may be simply as troubling.

“Walk Around the Moon,” the band’s tenth studio album, opens with its title song, swinging the beat and exulting in a relationship that has saved the grateful singer: “You gave me the whole lot/Now I’m flying into this kaleidoscopic dream.” But that dream doesn’t final; up subsequent is a track about college shootings. “Madman’s Eyes” is about to an ominous, Middle Eastern-tinged modal riff and buttressed by a moaning, swooping string orchestra, as Matthews howls, “Don’t sacrifice one other little one!”

More than most rock songwriters — particularly within the jam-band realm the place he has been barnstorming for 3 a long time — Matthews, 58, leans into being a grown-up. He’s an unabashed dad-rocker, a proud guardian who has lengthy been considering and worrying in regards to the welfare of his youngsters and of generations to come back. In “Something to Tell My Baby,” a waltz backed by solely his acoustic guitar and some strings, Matthews muses on how fleeting life may be, crooning in his humblest falsetto and questioning what recollections to depart behind “to make them smile/And possibly make issues simpler.”

“Walk Around the Moon” is the band’s first studio album since 2018, and the primary since its longtime violinist, Boyd Tinsley, left the band and was sued for sexual harassment by a musician in a facet mission; the case was settled in 2019.

The band’s sound had already been altering and deepening. On its Nineteen Nineties albums, Matthews’s guitar — usually acoustic — was the band’s solely chordal instrument, joined in light-fingered counterpoint by saxophone, violin, bass and drums for staccato grooves that blended folks, funk and jazz. Through the years, as its audiences grew to area measurement, the band was bolstered with keyboards, electrical guitar and horns, rising brawnier, weightier and brassier. (Tinsley’s substitute is a trumpeter, Rashawn Ross.) But the band’s founding rhythm part — Carter Beauford on drums and Stefan Lessard on bass — nonetheless retains the songs nimble, regardless of how burdened Matthews’s ideas can turn into.

“I’m down on this gap once more,” he sings in “Looking for a Vein,” as he compares himself to a miner who works compulsively. “What if I strike it/wealthy as I wish to be?” he muses over a loping, six-beat guitar lick. “Will it set me free/Or be simply one other gap to dig?” In “The Only Thing,” over a barreling electrical guitar riff that hints at Led Zeppelin, Matthews is determined to “Crawl out of this pores and skin I’m residing in/Crawl out of my thoughts into the skin.” And in “Monsters,” a reverberating ballad with a sputtering double time undercurrent, he’s making an attempt to reassure a baby — or presumably himself — that the “monsters in your head” aren’t actual.

In these new songs, love, and even the opportunity of love, solves lots of issues: the concern in “Monsters,” the self-loathing in “The Only Thing.” Other songs — “After Everything” and “Break Free” — cautiously have fun love going proper, emotionally and carnally, with Matthews pledging devotion whereas full-tilt horn sections blare his delight.

But he’s nicely conscious that love, in a contented home sphere, is simply a person refuge, not a world resolution. “The world goes in all instructions/Like bottles shattered on the ground,” he sings within the elegiac “All You Ever Wanted Was Tomorrow.” And he closes the album alone on acoustic guitar, with “Singing From the Windows.” The track imagines being inside a siege, fascinated with “when the struggle is over” whereas watching fires and listening to sirens.

“None of us know what’s to come back tomorrow,” he sings. “So dance with me just like the time we’ve acquired is borrowed.” Private consolation amid public disaster — it’s solely a modest comfort, however that’s all there may be.

Dave Matthews Band
“Walk Around the Moon”
(Bama Rags/RCA)

Content Source: www.nytimes.com


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