Keep It Together
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Top Customer Reviews
Having come to know and love Guster from their flawless 1999 album, "Lost and Gone Forever," I had high high hopes for where this quirky pop band with neo-Simon & Garfunkel harmonies would go next. This isn't what I expected. It's radio ready. It's slick. It's polished. And it's absolutely wonderful.
"Amsterdam," the first single, is the most immediate song they've ever crafted. And "Careful," "Homecoming King" and the title track aren't far behind. But, in case you're unfamiliar with Guster's off-beat musical landscape, no instrument is ever off-limits with these guys. No matter how radio friendly they get, "Keep It Together" showcases just how inventive and daring their arrangements are. The banjo on "Jesus on the Radio," the whistling in "Long Way Down" and the lightning-speed strumming in "Homecoming King" just scratch the surface of the depth of this band's musical intuition and keen pop sense.
But the two best songs here, without doubt, are "Ramona" and the stunning "Come Downstairs and Say Hello." The former track lays some Beach-Boys sunshine down on a heart-tugging chorus for brilliant - and bittersweet - effect. "Come Downstairs..." is easily the greatest song this band has tackled yet. Every moment of its glorious extended-crescendo is pure perfection. The lyrics (which begin and end with a clever nod to the myth about Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" matching up with "The Wizard of Oz") sketch out suburban isolation and introverted courage with brevity and clarity.Read more ›
"Amsterdam," the first radio single, is excellent, but when I played the CD the first time, the songs that immediately stood out to me were "Careful," "Homecoming King" and "Come Downstairs And Say Hello" (the last of which in my opinion rivals "Either Way" for the most beautiful song they've written). Even the tracks that didn't stand out were infectious enough that I've found myself singing them to myself without realizing what I was doing.
The musicianship -- or perhaps the production -- here sounds more mainstream to me than it has in Guster's past releases (with the exception of some banjo on "Jesus On The Radio"), but the songs are all interesting and well-crafted, plus they've added a piano on some tracks, which I like. I highly recommend this album to anyone who's a fan of Guster, and also to anyone who isn't (yet).
This is the CD where Guster break out of their "those three guys with the bongo drummer" mold and launch into superb pop rock-- one of my friends who I convinced to go with me to one of their shows described their sound as kind of "Toad the Wet Sprocket with happier lyrics." But I think they stand on their own as one of the most unique, tuneful, and underappreciated (except by their fans-- count me as one!)/underestimated bands out there.
Keep it Together starts out with "Diane," which builds up and showcases singers Adam and Ryan's unbelievable vocal harmonies. This continues throughout the CD-- every song here is superb! "Ramona" is one of my favorites, with everyone pitching in for some Beach Boys-esque heartfelt harmonizing for a genuinely touching song.
Playing along with them on the CD, and touring with them as well, is the talented Joe Pisapia, who rounds out their sound and from what I have heard is now a permanent member of the band. Despite what many may see as a band that is no longer who they were, I see this as a band who is willing to evolve, experiment and grow, and it pays off.
If you like MUSIC at all, you will not be disappointed with Keep It Together. This is a catchy, toe tapping, sing-along CD that I had in extremely heavy rotation for two years straight.
And if you get a chance to see Guster live, GO!!!! They are great and will make you a huge fan if you are not already. I cannot recommend this CD more highly, which is why it is on my desert island list.
With Keep It Together, their newly-released fourth album, Guster has gone in a somewhat different direction. Gone is the two-acoustic-guitars-and-a-maniac-on-congas format (well, not completely gone), as Guster branches out to bass guitars, banjos, and (gasp!) a drum kit.
This leads to a measure of exhilaration that is palpable, especially in the early songs. When Ryan Miller breaks out of his rarely-heard low notes into the sweet tenor chorus of "Diane," you can feel the band smiling. While "Amsterdam," the third track, is the first single being released by the band, it is the second track, "Careful," that is the catchiest.
Shades of Guster old can be heard on the fourth track, "Backyard," a spare, beautiful song with a wonderful harmonica solo at the end. "Jesus on the Radio" is another fairly short piece, and it is the closest to alt-country that Guster has ever dared, with some great banjo-picking by Joe of the band Joe, Marc's Brother.
Other highlights include "Keep it Together," which seems to refer to the challenges facing the band after their label didn't love their first attempt at this album, and "Come Downstairs and Say Hello," a song that starts slowly and builds to a frenzied pace, helped along by Brian Rosenworcel's phenomenal drumming. "Long Way Down" is a slower, mesmerizing song that highlights Miller's tenor again.
Overall, this is Guster's most ambitious release to date, as well as their best. It doesn't sound exactly like other Guster albums, but it does sound like a band at the height of its creative powers. Buy this CD and tell people you liked Guster before they became huge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
definitely in my top 3 for their discography. once again Guster maintains musical excellency and appeals to the heart as well as the earPublished 13 months ago by GreekPride
I love their combination of indie rock with a folk twist - so good!Published 15 months ago by Katie
Guster is a brilliant band and this is one of there most assemble easy to relate to worksPublished 19 months ago by femmefatale11
Just beginning to appreciate this excellent band....."Keep It Together" does not disappoint!Published 21 months ago by Patrick Warren
So first, let me get something straight -- I didn't actually buy this album. My dad first heard the some "Do You Love Me" playing over the radio at the SkyHigh trampoline place in... Read morePublished on June 29, 2014 by Agent 6
Won't say it is one of my favorite albums but I'm a sucker for hummingbirds and the music is pretty decent. Not a bad album for the price.Published on February 27, 2014 by L. Grant
So many great songs on this album! If you like Guster, this is a great CD to add to your collection.Published on February 25, 2014 by mvillen33
Albums where you can listen to every single song in succession and not want to skip any are pretty rare these days. This one is awesome. It puts me in a great mood. Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by C. Ouellette