On Evermotion, Guster’s acoustic roots are buried deep beneath the surface, almost impossible to detect, even though every song has, at its heart, an indelible melody and more than its share of tight, lethal hooks that catch and hold.
The 2010 addition of multi-instrumentalist Luke Reynolds to the core group of founding members Miller, Gardner and Rosenworcel, added immeasurably to Guster’s expanding musical palette. Evermotion marks the first time that Reynolds joined for the preproduction and writing process, which took place in Rosenworcel’s Brooklyn basement over 2012 and 2013. Reynolds’ stamp is clear and his passion is all over the record, from his guitar melodies on “Lazy Love” to his fuzz bass on “Doin’ It By Myself.”
Guster’s songs remain packed with hummable choruses and dense lyrical detail amid the muscular guitar riffs, clanging percussion and deceptively dark lyrics. The new album features adventurous turns on slide guitars, brassy trumpets and even a glockenspiel, with sax and trombone accompaniment by Jon Natchez, whose stints with the War on
Drugs, Beirut, Passion Pit and others have led NPR to call him “indie rock’s most valuable sideman.”
From the start of the album, it’s clear that this is a renewed band with a bolstered purpose, a band on their own vector. Evermotion introduces you to a Guster that is free, not calculated, seasoned but loose, confident in re-shaping their legacy.
The songs on Complete Strangers bear some resemblance to the album’s title. They share things in common but come from different places, different times. “Stranger Still” is an anthem for insomniacs, illuminating the hours when the world exceeds our grasp. “From Now On” rings out some emotional tinnitus, the moment a night runs away from you, when freedoms turn into responsibilities. The album builds around dualities, the way people pair at parties. “Current Carry” percolates with the confidence of love, while “Confiding” reveals how vulnerable we are chasing love. “Backwards Slowly” and “Edgar” are vignettes of transition, more ebb than flow. As with many of Vetiver’s better moments, sunshine is only a chord away from melancholy. An introspective lyric underlies an extroverted chorus. Subtlety tries to be outgoing, loneliness familiar, in an effort to connect the dots of life’s ellipsis.