Published on April 6th, 2012 | by Clara Cullen
Counting Crows- Underwater Sunshine
Counting Crows are one of those bands that just seem to get better with age. Immediately recognizable by Adam Duritz’ insanely melodic vocals and their tight knit instrumental arrangements, Counting Crows remain one of the best rock bands America has ever produced.
‘Underwater Sunshine’ is a music lover’s wet dream. Though some will inevitably bemoan the fact that ‘Underwater Sunshine’ is a cover album containing no new Counting Crows’ material, for those who are in the business of seeking out new music for the sheer pleasure of it, this album goes above and beyond the call of duty. The album contains covers of both classic songs, Big Star’s ‘Ballad of Old Goodo’ for example to new upstarts such as ‘All My Failures’ by Dawes (a band we recently interviewed: http://www.blagsound.com/interviews/dawes-interview.blag).
The instrumentation and arrangement of each song is so carefully constructed, that every cover is a new discovery. The harmonies and melodies so intricately intertwined that it’s clear that a lot of earnest effort and attention has gone into making this album. By the time one gets to their cover of Kasey Andersons’ ‘Like Teenage Gravity’, a clear highlight on an album that has many, one has almost forgotten that this is indeed a cover album. Counting Crows make each song so much their own that it becomes immediately obvious that this is the album they wanted to make, they didn’t want to make just another 12 track original album.
Some songs on ‘Underwater Sunshine’ should be familiar to Counting Crows’ aficionados. The Tender Mercies are not only a side project for some of the members; but their songs ‘Mercy’ and ‘Four White Stallions’ have in fact cropped up on Counting Crows’ live albums and b-sides before. Highlights on the album include the down right brilliant ‘Like Teenage Gravity’ which displays their ability to be both be melodically tuneful while also being destructively rock n’ roll, it’s moment of visceral abandonment which comes as a real joy. Their cover of Gram Parsons’ ‘Return of The Grievous Angel’ demonstrates the oft forgotten, but when done correctly, stunning capabilities of musical arrangement. Their interlacing of musical instruments, whether this be by bringing banjo riffs forward, or a piano melody harmonising with a guitar lick shows Counting Crows at their best.
Do I wish for a new Counting Crows’ album containing 12 new songs? Yes I do, very much so. However, after listening to this album in full; this isn’t really a compensation album, just one that shows a different side to a great American rock band.
Underwater Sunshine will be released by Cooking Vinyl nationwide on the 9th April.
For more information on Counting Crows head to:http://www.countingcrows.com/
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