Guster has a new album out: Ganging Up on The Sun. I've been listening to it quite a bit in the last few days (It arrived on Monday).
This album is very different than previous Guster albums: a different sound, one much more eclectic, though at times too conventional/poppy. The biggest difference in the sound is the lack of Brian's bongos. I really miss them, and I found some of the songs a bit on the plain/conventional side without them.
The first two songs are also too mellow and don't set the right tone for the rest of the album. I've found that if I start on the third track, the whole album sounds better.
I've also noticed a lot of musical influences. Some of the songs have a very Beatlesque sound; a few others were reminsicent of Asia (or more poppy Yes). One Song, Ruby Falls -- one of the songs I really like -- even has a Grateful Dead a la Terrapin Station thing going on.
The Captain is a song with a lot of that Guster energy. Manifest Destiny was an early release track, so I have heard it before; it too has a lot of that Guster energy. The New Underground is a song with some early 80's Yes overtones. I'll have more comments on the songs later after I listen to them more.
Like with the last few albums, I've found that you have to listen to the album a number of times to get a feel for it before you can really judge it. The songs have a tendency to grow on you and get better. I think this is in part to their exploration of a new sound (especially as the bongos have been fading out). It's a bit like that adage about fighting the last war. When you first come to listen to the album, you are still thinking of the past album and that colors the way you react to the new album. Once you get the new album in your system on its own terms, you are able to judge it.
Overall, it's no Parachute or Lost and Gone, but I like the album and I am looking forward to listening to it more.