Review Summary: A tremendous debut album that indicates the potential for even greater things.
Prior to the 1990’s the world had never heard anything like Dave Matthews Band. Sure, there were jam bands such as Phish and even the Allman Brothers Band, but neither of these bands had the sound that Dave Matthews Band developed. After releasing a semi-official live record “Remember Two Things” in 1993, the band’s first full-length studio album was released a year later. “Under the Table and Dreaming” is an excellent debut by a band that kept on growing throughout the 1990’s, complete with a full sound to say the least, and pop-hooks. “Under the Table and Dreaming” is one of their poppiest records to date, which can be attested by singles What Would You Say
, and Ants Marching
. To say that the record has pop-appeal does not completely define the album, for a great deal of diversity can be found here.
Much like its descendant “Crash,” “Under the Table and Dreaming” centers on the concept of freedom, which is especially displayed in slow burner Typical Situation
. “Everybody’s happy, everyone is free. Keep the big door open, everyone will come around.” Singles What Would You Say
and Ants Marching
accentuate this as well, with towering violins, saxophones, and a bouncy care-free feel. The latter of these tracks is one of the tracks that made the band famous, and is perfect for live performance due to its potential for expansion and soloing. This is a recurring theme in most of the band’s music, for there is just something about Dave Matthews Band that makes their songs translate so well into live shows. Band jam Dancing Nancies
is another example of this, for the build-up and instrumentation is tremendous, highlighted by Leroi’s Saxophone and Boyd’s Violin. This track is quite catchy, especially with Dave asking, “Could I have been anyone other than me"” Fan favorite Jimi Thing
is an underscore of the record as well, for freedom is emphasized again here, “Day is gone I'm on my back, staring up at the ceiling. I take a drink sit back relax, smoke my mind makes me feel better for a short time.” Soloing potential is massive here, and on the record Leroi’s Saxophone is featured in the final minute.
Despite “Under the Table and Dreaming’s” blissful feel, there is a good deal of diversity with some darker, and more serious tracks. The record’s longest track Warehouse
, is a brilliant song, transitioning from an eerie introduction and verse to more a pleasurable chorus. The diversity in the track alone is incredible, Dave goes from, “See Im leaving, this warehouse frightens me, has me tied up in knots. Can't rest for a moment, soom I’m going I’m slippin slow away,” to “Leave all the lights on, so we can see the black cat changing colors. And we can walk under the ladders, and swim as the tide turns you around and around.” Rhyme and Reason
is the album’s darkest and more brutal track, for Dave utilizes his growl-like yell, screaming at times, “My head won't leave my head alone, and I don't believe it will, 'til I'm six feet underground.” Dave actually even threatens to lose it on Lover Lay Down
, the beautiful ballad of the record.
Dave Matthews Band’s studio debut says almost all there is to say about the band in just over sixty minutes. From the pleasing opener Best of What’s Around
, to instrumental #34
, this is an excellent record. More importantly, “Under the Table and Dreaming” gives us the indication that this band is capable of even greater things, which would be achieved in their next few albums.
Rhyme and Reason
Lover Lay Down