Ganging Up On The Sun


Reprise, 2006

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


It’s funny how sometimes there are records that you play over and over again when they first come out, and you think that surely this is an album that you’ll never get tired of, it’s an all time favorite, etc. But, time goes on, and what seems destined to be a lifelong relationship is merely a short-term fling. Soon, there’s another album to take its place, and another, and another, and before you know it, you’ve completely forgotten a record like Ganging Up On The Sun.

Guster definitely did well for themselves in the mid ‘00s; they remain one of those bands that you mention to a person in their late twenties, and the response is, “Oh yeah, I remember those guys! They weren’t that bad…” Truth be told, I cannot argue the contrary, because my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ganging Up On The Sun was and remains the only Guster record I have listened to. However, were this reviewer to make a sweeping generalization based primarily off this one record, Guster had the talent and chops to have done better for themselves.

What was to be appreciated then, and should be appreciated now, is how well Guster is able to shift styles during the songs on this disc. In many ways, this album draws comparisons to Fountains Of Wayne, especially during their Welcome Interstate Managers period. Much of Ganging Up On The Sun has a bouncy, almost jaunty sound but this is more than a happy-go-lucky kind experience. There is a core of genuine sadness that lurks beneath the shiny veneer of this album.

Much of that emotional substance comes from some great imagery from the boys in Guster. Take, for instance, “Satellite.” At its core, it is decidedly a love song, but taking that traditional topic and framing it through the prism of a satellite lends just a hint of emptiness via the mental picture that arrives with it. “One Man Wrecking Machine” looks back on younger days, when you don’t know any better and don’t have the expectations of the real world crushing down on you.

Like Fountains Of Wayne, Guster doesn’t seem content to try the same trick twice. There is the Neil Young with Crazy Horse gathering intensity of “Ruby Falls,” a hint of vintage Rod Stewart in “C’Mon,”  and a Ben Folds derivative with “Manifest Destiny.” And, of course, any use of a theremin (“One Man Wrecking Machine”) in rock music completely justifies an album’s existence (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration on my part).

2006 is not a terribly long time ago, but compare pop music of that year to the current day, and you will find a very different scene. Ganging Up On The Sun has a timeless quality to it in terms of its sound. That is not to say it will leave a legacy such as the great albums of its era, but whether you play it today, tomorrow, or years from now, it will remain an incredibly solid record.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise, and is used for informational purposes only.