Guster
Evermotion


2.5
average

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 7th, 2015 | 31 replies


Release Date: 01/13/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album that noticeably tries too hard.

In terms of mainstream indie-pop, it doesn’t get any more by-the-books than Guster. They’ve made a relatively successful career out of crafting easily digestible, highly infectious tunes that are somehow just as thoughtful as they are unabashedly mainstream. ‘Satellite’, ‘Architects & Engineers’, and ‘Do You Love Me’ have all probably blasted through your car’s speakers before, regardless of whether or not you knew who they were at the time. Their brand of laid back, catchy music made them one of many mid-2000’s alternative radio darlings, and even though a four year break has cut into their popularity a little bit, it’s still almost impossible to go to a mall or grocery store and not hear one of their hits. That’s what all artists dream of, right" Well, if you answered absolutely not to that question, then you may have more in common with the members of this band than you think.

When Evermotion’s impending release was revealed, it was announced that the band was aiming to “become something else completely”, and rumors swirled that Shins keyboardist / Black Keys bassist Richard Swift would be involved. Throw in sax/trombone player Jon Natchez (a man who NPR proclaims to be “indie-rock’s most valuable sideman” because of his contributions to The War On Drugs, Passion Pit, and Beirut), and there was even more reason to believe that Guster was going to shock a lot of people in 2015. Things are certainly different here, but it’s not all for the better. Evermotion slows things down and opens up to some predictable forms of “experimentation” (I wish I had a dollar for every time a band opted for lazy electronic effects and reverb and called it experimenting), but in the end all this proves to be is Guster lite – if that’s even possible.

The vast majority of Evermotion demonstrates the tight pop tune-sense that has always made Guster relevant, it’s just painted on a different canvas. Instead of featuring sprightly, upbeat tempos and catchy verse-verse-chorus progressions, we have slow to unravel, gradually revealing songs that are slightly more complex and about half as memorable. Imagine ‘Satellite’ if it wasn’t catchy. That’s about three-quarters of the album if you’re willing to oversimplify things, not counting the charming, beat-driven single ‘Simple Machine.’ Opener ‘Long Night’ is about as close as Guster comes to realizing their experimental worth, with twinkling chimes, subtle classical piano, and gorgeously interwoven vocal harmonies, but even then the whole thing reeks of Shins worship. That’s not even necessarily a bad thing though, considering just how much influence The Shins have had over the indie music genre. What sucks is that it’s all downhill from there in terms of creativity, setting the scene for something that never really comes into fruition. At no point does Evermotion descend into utter bilge, it just hovers in boring mid-tempo territory – offering up pretty music that at times qualifies as atmospheric but has no edge, no aggression, and no sense of actual purpose.

Evermotion isn’t unenjoyable by any means – there’s plenty of things that fans of popular alt/indie will find attractive. However, it simply isn’t anything new and it never even tries to convince us otherwise. The late album stretch of ‘Expectation’, ‘Gangway’, ‘Kid Dreams’ and ‘Never Coming Down’ hardly even varies, becoming a muddled mess of everything that’s unoriginal and tiresome about contemporary indie-pop. Richard Swift’s influence feels wasted throughout as there is little to no actual integration of different styles; instead it’s just the band saying “hey, we want to make a real indie record” and bringing in someone with hefty influence in the field. Natchez has some nice instrumental cuts, but they’re largely out of place. The band’s actual songwriting capabilities actually appear to be at an all-time high, with songs that do more than simply build to a chorus and ride it. It’s just a shame that the songs lack the substance to give them lasting appeal. In the end, that (sadly) makes sacrificing the catchy verses and fun choruses a detrimental decision.

Don’t get me wrong, Evermotion was absolutely the right move for Guster to make…that move, however, simply fell flat. What we’re left with is a somewhat novel approach that’s bolstered by improved songwriting, but ruined by a sheer lack of direction – or anything interesting to say. To quote the title of the album’s tenth track, it is just what it is. If they continue their transformation from mainstream pop to alt/indie, they may find more inspiration during future endeavors. For now though, I’ll take my mall-going, catchy as hell version of Guster over Evermotion – an album that noticeably tries too hard.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
2.7
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
January 7th 2015


28060 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Trying to stay fresh because I haven't reviewed since November. I always enjoyed these guys but this album just bored me. It felt like they heard Wincing The Night Away or something, or maybe just the new Black Keys album, and tried as hard as they could to recreate it. Needless to say, it's not as good.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Skoop
January 7th 2015


2049 Comments


Damn, I really like these guys, they have so many good jams (on lost and gone forever and keep it together
especially). I'll still check this out.

ZackSh33
January 7th 2015


680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's too bad



Lost and Gone Forever and Ganging Up On The Sun are two of my favorites

Gyromania
January 7th 2015


25902 Comments


can't believe this isn't a rudy review

menawati
January 7th 2015


16587 Comments


always liked Goldfly might check this out but doesnt feel like i'd like it from reading this i guess never
going to be another 'airport song' from them

danielito19
January 7th 2015


12058 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

great review sowingseason, album feels very dry and uninspired

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2015


11972 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

son of a

Digging: Vansire - Angel Youth

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2015


11972 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

never thought the day would come when i would have to dib a Guster album

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 7th 2015


28060 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Haha I thought the same thing that's why I just went ahead and reviewed it.



If you're a fan of these guys you might like this more than I did , so you could always do an opposing review. I always found these guys sort of enjoyable at times but I wouldn't call myself a Guster expert/fan of any kind.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2015


11972 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

they are a top 10 band for me. seeing them in a couple weeks actually. best live show of my life was the Ganging Up on the Sun tour their drummer is amazing. however i will say while i gave a positive review of their last album their appeal is much more nostalgic for me than actually affecting, although the run from L&GF to Ganging is classic. haven't gotten around to this yet tho

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 7th 2015


28060 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Ganging Up ruled, one of my favorite albums that I discovered while in college and pretty much the reason I know about them

ZackSh33
January 8th 2015


680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

their appeal is much more nostalgic for me than actually affecting, although the run from L&GF to Ganging is classic. haven't gotten around to this yet tho [2]









deathschool
January 8th 2015


22646 Comments


I think this is decent so far. Not bad, but not amazing.

Digging: Tim Hecker - Konoyo

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2015


11972 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

so my main problem with this album is the same one i had with easy wonderful - why does Adam never sing lead anymore???

SpoonerMcgee
January 9th 2015


106 Comments


Holy lord, the ad they are running for this on Spotify is just an embarassing mess. Seems to speak volumes to their misplaced effort on the album as a whole...

El_Goodo
January 10th 2015


1013 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What does that even mean SpoonerMcGee? Their ad is an embarrassing mess? Wtf?



Anyways... I hate when reviews contradict their scores: "Evermotion isn’t unenjoyable by any means – there’s plenty of things that fans of popular alt/indie will find attractive. However, it simply isn’t anything new and it never even tries to convince us otherwise."



And so you deem it a poor record. Based on that sentence alone it should be at least a solid 3. I haven't listened to the album that much, I listened to all the singles they released before through Pledge Music. There are some great tracks on this album "Endlessly," "Simple Machine," "Gangway," "Doing It By Myself," and "Never Coming Down" are all awesome catchy tracks. But I do agree that there's quite a lot that falls flat. "Lazy Love" I find to be the only outright bad track on the album. But saying that I might find myself liking the entire album after repeated albums.



I don't know what you're talking about when you say the songwriting has improved and go on to say that most of the album falls flat. They have always been great songwriters. What's wrong with building to a chorus and riding it? That's what pop music does. And Guster writes some killer melodies.



Just so many contradicting statements: "Don’t get me wrong, Evermotion was absolutely the right move for Guster to make…that move, however, simply fell flat."



It was the right move to make, but it was a shitty move that failed. What?

jtswope
January 10th 2015


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

why does Adam never sing lead anymore??? [2]

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 10th 2015


28060 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

It was the right move to make, but it was a shitty move that failed. What?



Good intentions don't necessarily translate into good results. It's not hard to decipher.

mgeorge7
January 10th 2015


78 Comments


What're the best few songs on this?

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2015


11972 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

First one is my favorite



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