Hurry Up & Hang Around

Blues Traveler

BMG Records, 2018

http://www.bluestraveler.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/01/2018

Well, I can’t believe it actually happened. Three years ago, Blues Traveler released an album called Blow Up The Moon, a stylistic departure if there ever was one. The band teamed up with also-rans like 3OH!3, JC Chasez, Bowling For Soup, Hanson, and Thompson Square. The result was one of the worst things I’ve ever heard and set the band back quite a few years with the masses.

And now they’ve tried again. They’re back on yet another record label, but this time with a real producer, Matt Rollings and a chance to get some things right. Surprise, surprise, surprise, they’ve come out with their best record in years and some great songs that really show off how great they really were back in their heyday.

“She Becomes My Way” is actually a decent pop song and comes across really well. It’s quite a lovely song and something nice to hear this year. “Accelerated Nation” is a sigh of relief; it feels like Traveler has returned to the sound that their fans have loved all these years. Away from the pop of nbtc__dv_250 Blow Up The Moon, it feels like they’ve had a chance to rediscover their sound and what made them so interesting when they first came out. Even the guitar solos have returned, along with Popper’s harmonica in full force.

“The Touch She Has” is a nice enough pop song that one finds might get stuck in their head, while “The Wolf Is Bumpin’” is a lot more up-tempo and is relatively decent enough without being annoying. I can’t believe I’m writing these words after the disaster of three years ago, but I figured I would give ‘em the benefit of the doubt and figure out what they’ve learned since then.

“Tangle Of Our Dreaming” is another song that sounds like Blues Traveler of old and it’s a refreshing relief. It feels the band have settled on a common ground with this record; nothing is over five minutes, everything is clear and concise, and a lot of the more jam elements seem to have been eliminated for a streamlined sound reminiscent of their mid ‘90s successes.

There are some stark surprises on this disc that will genuinely shock: “Prayer Upon The Wind” comes across like a nice hootenanny. The one real dud, “Phone Call from Leavenworth,” slows things down a bit and doesn’t quite work. But again, it’s quite an improvement over what we last heard. The closing track, “Ode From The Aspect” is piano driven and really beautiful. I couldn’t believe myself how great and pretty a song it really is. It’s hopeful to think that the last record was a horrible dream, something we’ll never have to go through again and that this is the band that some of us fell in love all those years ago.

All in all, I can say this is one of the greater shocks I’ve heard musically in quite some time and it will actually be memorable as a result. Good job, Blues Traveler – let’s hope you stick with this sound and the same record label the next go round.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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