Easy Wonderful [LP]


Easy Wonderful [LP]

Vinyl LP pressing. 2010 release from the Alt-Rockers. Following their release of well received and much more grown-up Ganging Up on the Sun in 2006, Guster took a mini-hiatus to focus on parenting and other ventures. They were also continuing to transition into becoming a quartet with the addition of producer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Pisapia who had just joined the group. Three years later, they would be performing at venues across the U.S. with new tracks in their arsenal. These songs would so

Price: $ 149.00

3 Comments/Reviews

  • Rudolph Klapper "klap4music" says:
    16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Guster – Easy Wonderful, October 5, 2010
    By 
    Rudolph Klapper “klap4music” (Los Angeles) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Easy Wonderful (Audio CD)
    Guster has been calmly making what amounts to the same pop-rock-with-an-unfair-ear-for-hooks since 1999’s classic Lost and Gone Forever, with varying degrees of success. I’ve gotten older, and Guster’s fans have definitely gotten older – I recently attended a show where the majority of the audience was way past college and hovering around the black hole of their 30s – but Guster have pretty much stayed exactly the same, and it doesn’t seem to mean a thing. Maybe that’s why they’re one of the few bands from my high school days that have yet to truly disappoint me.

    Now the critical part of me finds plenty to dislike with this, their sixth album. It’s absolutely nonthreatening – if I had to compare Easy Wonderful to a living thing, it’d be a koala bear, cuddly and furry with a strict vegetarian diet. Drummer Brian Rosenworcel’s brilliant hand drumming, which defined the band’s early sound and still makes their live shows one of my favorites, has been, by and large, neutered to a standard sticks-and-pedals kit. Adam Gardner’s lovely baritone is now reserved strictly for backing vocals, and singer Ryan Miller shows an increasing love for saccharine lyrics and chintzy sentiments that would best be left in a Hallmark card. In other words, it’s the same gradual progression towards “dad-rock” that Ganging Up On The Sun hinted at, but with one slight addendum: Guster is still churning out some of the best melodies of their career.

    It’s why I know that Guster will always be the security blanket of my musical existence when they keep tossing out effortless gems like unreasonably catchy first single “Do You Love Me.” Hell, any band that can use song titles like that or “Bad Bad World” or (God help us) “This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart” and make me immediately forgive them when that melody hits has my respect. Guster have been doing this a long time, and occasionally it shows, but I can’t think of another band who, song-for-song, keep coming up with choruses and hooks that stay in my head when other, more “challenging” albums gather dust until I have to write my end-of-year lists. There’s been better songs this year, but few more likely to have me singing along in my highest pitch than “That’s No Way To Heaven” and fewer still with the potential to kick around my skull for weeks like “Do You Want,” or “Architects and Engineers,” or virtually everything else here. There’s nothing more groundbreaking here than some well-placed banjo twang, and Easy Wonderful hasn’t made me think or made me call up a friend late at night caught in some ten-minute-plus audio brilliance. This is just guitars, bass, drums, and harmonies, and it’s absolutely, relentlessly gorgeous. If Guster can grow old and still sound so cheerful, maybe everything won’t be so drab after all.

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  • Platinum says:
    64 of 84 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Guster trying to be Guster, October 9, 2010
    By 

    This review is from: Easy Wonderful (Audio CD)
    How does one review this album? From beginning to finish, there is not one track that you’re going to skip. Theres nothing horrible here. However, theres not one track that you’re going to want to skip ahead to, either. This album doesn’t have a “Satellite”, “Fa Fa”, “Happier” or “Careful” thats going to pull you in. It also doesn’t have a “Ruby Falls” or a “Come Downstairs and Say Hello” as an epic ballad. This is an album full of twelve songs that pretty much don’t TAKE ANY CHANCES. They are all mid tempo, three minute pop songs. They all sound very much alike, and it’s a bit of a shame. Songs like these have always been on Guster albums, but for every “C’mon”, there was always something like “Lightning Rod” that really caught your attention as something different. The guys played it safe this time, trying to sound like the band they thought they should be. That kicked Adam Gardner totally off vocal duties, totally killed the bongo percussion, and turned the songwriting into a strict formatted process. This album has no variation, and suffers from it. Guster has always been a “happy” band, but this album is just a bit too sugar coated for its own good.

    Guster fans, I still would suggest looking into this album. It will not be your favorite album by the band, not by a longshot, but you will find 12 decent songs that will entertain you by a band that you like. To people who are not familiar with the band, DO NOT START HERE. Start with Lost and Gone Forever and Keep it Together.

    I hate writing a review like this. Guster is the band that got me into music, and they finally slipped. 4 year gap between albums and not one standout track? It just doesn’t make sense. Guster seems to have always been trying to find their “sound”, and this is the album where they honed in on what they considered their best assets. Problem is, Guster’s definitive sound turns out to be when they have no idea what they want to sound like. This is not a great album. This is not a horrible album. It’s somewhere in between, to the point where it’s hard to figure out what you think of it. That can’t be a good thing.

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  • Rudy Palma "The Writing Fiend" says:
    13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Easy to Pop In, Wonderful to Play…, October 5, 2010
    This review is from: Easy Wonderful (Audio CD)
    Guster’s “Easy Wonderful” is filled with sunny, friendly, well-crafted rocky pop wall to wall. These guys have never sounded more joyful and in-sync – the album’s title is perfectly chosen.

    The lyrics all land perfectly, without a missing or superfluous syllable sticking its tongue out. This is a set of peaceful, fun-loving tunes that consistently catch hold and deliver high entertainment value. The band clearly labored intensively over the perfect execution of each track, which shows in the results.

    “On the Ocean” sounds breezy, tropical and Beach Boys-like, both in its lyrics and its sonic atmosphere. “Do You Love Me” is peppy, full of handclaps and boundlessly sweet – a tune with the easy pep and energy of those that blare out of jukeboxes in a 50’s-style diners. The tongue-in-cheek “This Could All Be Yours,” an astute exercise in irony, is just as impressive with its sing-along chorus and spirited chanting.

    Even the inventive, storytelling “Stay with Me Jesus,” bristles with melodic verve and excitement, with intriguingly used synthesizers and harmonies. The results are pop music genius, or at least something like it. The bouncy “Jesus and Mary” and “That’s No Way to Get to Heaven,” which works in its acoustic sparseness, continue Christian themes. The guys are not proselytizing or even really preaching, but have clearly turned to religion for a source of inspiration from which to bounce ideas.

    The infectious spirit that energizes the album does not cease. Despite its piercing lyrics of unrequited love, “This Is How It Feels to Have a Broken Heart” percolates with choppy, kinetic arrangements and stylings that let it glitter and glean with a sunny pop sheen. The piano-driven “Bad Bad World” follows in suit, which stands tall with its juicy, widescreen melody and cliched – yet welcome – yearning for peace and tranquility.

    The same goes for “What You Call Love,” which, despite its lyrical seriousness, sounds ready for a Hawaiian beachside concert, complete with lush, tropical-sounding guitars and Mariachi-style interjections.

    This is a fall album that should have been released in summer.

    The album ends strongly with the trippy, techno-infused “Do What You Want.”

    College frat houses aside, Guster has had a difficult time finding the proper venue. Neither mainstream listeners nor critics have much knowledge or love for the band. That matters little, though, since these guys know their strengths and weaknesses and put in the time in the studio and on stage to focus the former and minimize the latter, keeping their word-of-mouth fan base satisfied with compelling, sharply-executed music.

    “Easy Wonderful” overflows with pop music so upbeat, friendly and optimistic – and strong – that it could easily frighten away humorless bureaucrats, unscrupulous businessmen and Anna Wintour. Fine enough reasons indeed to give it a listen.

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