by Hep Kat USER (121 Reviews)
June 24th, 2006 | 6 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

It’s possible for me to name all of the bands that actually make me happy to listen to on one hand. Foregoing the other four, let’s focus on the one group who is always represented by my first finger: Guster. They’re just that type of band; the type that truly is enjoyable to listen to. I can’t help but crack a smile whenever I hear a Guster song. Charisma. That’s what Guster has. The type of charisma that develops into an appealing charm. It’s rare to come across a band with this much character, this much personality. There is perhaps no greater example of Guster’s unique brand of quirky allure than the band’s second studio album, 1998’s Goldfly.

Goldfly was basically Guster’s way of raising simple indie pop to an art form. You’d be hard pressed to find an album as quaintly experimental as this. Goldfly kept Guster in a state of progression, without alienating any particulars of the band’s past blueprints of success. You see, that’s the beautiful thing about Guster: they manage to significantly change their musical approach from album to album with oftentimes fascinating results. Even within their albums the manage to diversify themselves, allowing for a one-of-a-kind listening experience.

Take “Airport Song” for example. What begins as a subtle little melody slowly develops into a fully immersive experience, complete with ping-pong outro. It is the deftly placed intricacies that Guster places into Goldfly’s songs that impress more than anything. This, of course, is bolstered by the band’s phenomenal songwriting talent. Every song to be found on this album has a certain sense of balance between raw enthusiasm and disciplined serenity. Lyrically, Goldfly leaves little be desired. The wordplay overflows with songs that seem to convey every spectrum of the human emotional palette. They do this, however, without losing Guster’s distinctively laidback feel. Personally, I have an affinity for the lyrics to be found in “Rocket Ship” whose first verses read:

They'll find it on the stairs
Politely placed it there/
Been so unkind without a hint
A warning sign for them

Read my apology
Their hope of disbelief
But no denial changes things
No remedy ahead

I am not to be martyred
I am not to be worshipped
Did it not to be strong, strong, strong
I implicate no others in this crime…

The musicianship on Goldfly, however, lapses even the wonderful lyrics in terms of sheer quality. Guster employ a curious mix of different instruments on their albums; the most prominent of these on Goldfly being the bongos; to a slightly lesser extent, violin. Said bongos are played by Brian Rosenworcel, who, for all it’s worth, is consistently the most impressive member of Guster from a musical standpoint. Affectionately dubbed “The Thundergod,” Rosenworcel is a multi-instrumental percussionist. To call him merely a drummer would be an insult; the man is a master of his craft. Rosenworcel’s employment of everything from a standard drum kit (usually eschewing drum sticks in favor of his bare hands), to djembes, to tambourines, and the aforementioned bongos on Goldfly. His infectiously groovy beats add to the general fever-dream feel of most of the album’s songs. One of the greatest examples of Rosenworcel’s seemingly boundless is his work on “The Great Escape.” In short, Guster wouldn’t be Guster and Goldfly wouldn’t be Goldfly without the steady hands of “The Thundergod.” As splendid as Rosenworcel’s efforts on Goldfly are, Guster’s other members also perform extremely well. The dual vocal work of guitarists Ryan Miller and Adam Gardner is quite commendable. So to, is the duos guitar playing; a sonically fascinating use of acoustic instruments. Miller and Gardner seem to constantly seem bounce their texture-laden riffs off of one another, as if enticing the other to respond with something even greater. More often than not, their intent is fully realized.

Goldfly features an eclectically pleasing mixture of brilliant music and deep lyrics, that makes for some of the most well-constructed songs that I’ve ever heard. I can’t imagine finding anything wrong with this album. Goldfly is one of Guster’s finest moments, as well as being a fine moment for music in general. I can’t force you, dear reader, to listen to anything, no matter how highly I recommend it. Still, if I ever become musical dictator of the world, you can safely bet that this would be required (read: forced) listening. So hurry out to pick this one up, or else I’m going to start plotting my conquer of the planet Earth.

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user ratings (53)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 24th 2006


I keep on hearing about this band on sputnik and although it sounds like something that I would dislike I'll download a few songs off of this. Good job on the review, only six more days left in June so it looks like you're gonna live up to that "one review per day" goal.

The Jungler
June 24th 2006


Guster binge? Good job on the review, all i've heard off this is Airport Song.

Storm In A Teacup
June 25th 2006


:eek: 32 reviews this month! This beats my record fo sho.

Staff Reviewer
August 3rd 2006


I love love love "Airport Song" when I heard it on the Woodstock 1999 album, but I haven't heard "the real thing."
And a classic? Really? That gives me even more reason to seek this out, haha.

August 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Their next album, Lost and Gone Forever, is better. But this is still a pretty solid album. I love 'Demons' and 'X-Ray Eyes'

March 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Demons is so great

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