Wednesday, April 9, 2008

CD Review: four

1) Run-Around
2) Stand
3) Look Around
4) Fallible
5) The Mountains Win Again
6) Freedom
7) Crash Burn
8) Price To Pay
9) Hook
10) The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
11) Just Wait
12) Brother John
Don't let the name fool you. This band plays much more than blues. Right in the first song, likely the only one you're familiar with, one hears Latin percussion, soulful harmonica, and reggae-tinged vocals.
Be sure to stay tuned after "Run-Around", though. If not, you'll miss 11 other flawlessly written and performed tracks. Blues Traveler is much more than a one-hit wonder band with that formerly fat guy with a harmonica.
"Stand" is a funky, soulful blast of sound in the vein of Stevie Wonder's work which rather psychedelically changes tempo. It works its way back up to an upbeat speed before surprisingly ending with two choppy chords. Oh, and John Popper paves the way for Jack Black with a face-melting scat solo.
Things slow down with an anthem of a ballad, "Look Around", then speed right back up with the ridiculous instrumental work of "Fallible". Damn, no one plays the blues harp like John Popper! He's a fine leader in a band full of talented guys.
Don't dismiss these guys as has-beens. Blues Traveler was too-briefly embraced by the mainstream, a crowd it's too good for. These guys turned Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D into "Hook"! Come on, that's just plain cool.
***** out of five

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