The Dave Matthews Band Throw A New Orleans Funeral Parade

Our look at the closing lines of the week’s biggest new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to the seventh studio album by the Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, which arrives in stores today:

• “In the end, the particular balance Matthews and his band struck may be the best one possible for a nearly 20-year-old band. They’ve drawn on the tone of old, while refusing to simply mimic it.” [Jim Farber, New York Daily News]

• “Big Whiskey, though, is a lot like a New Orleans funeral parade—mourning and zest balled into big, brawny music. ‘We’ll be drinking big whiskey while we dance and sing,’ Matthews crows in ‘Why I Am.’ ‘And when my story ends, it’s gonna end with him/Heaven or hell/I’m going down with the GrooGrux King.’ I’m betting on heaven—and that Moore will be quietly waiting for him.” [David Fricke, Rolling Stone]

• “GrooGrux is harder edged and more bottom heavy than DMB’s usual fare, undoubtedly due to the band’s decision to work with Green Day and My Chemical Romance producer Rob Cavallo, but probably also a result of the grief suffered by Moore’s surviving bandmates. A fond, funky farewell.” [Mikael Wood, Spin]

• “Matthews is still writing lyrics that will make undergrads nod their heads in quiet wonder; but at album’s end, he also offers ‘You and Me,’ a modestly sweet love song to his wife in which he exchanges that trademark quirkiness for an unfussy adult voice. It’s just one little song on a big record, probably doomed to be overlooked by many. The happiness in domesticity it expresses marks one path to survival–after the storm, after all, there are still the dishes to do.” [Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times]

  • eltedioso

    No comments? I’m surprised. I guess I’ll comment, then.

    As uncool as it may be to say it, DMB is a fantastic band. No one puts on a live show like they do. They’re up there with the greats, touring-wise. Their records have been inconsistent, but intermittently great.

    Dave’s songwriting has certainly floundered since their 1990s output, but it’s good to see that critics are giving them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

    The DMB fan scene can be irritating, sure. But more irritating than the DMB fan scene? People who dislike DMB because of said scene. I’m surprised and a little impressed that no one felt the need to comment here with something snarky. AV Club commenters were not so classy.

    I’ll admit, I preordered the disc and will listen giddily on headphones as soon as I get it in the mail today or tomorrow. I’m reserving judgment for the point when it’s all had a chance to soak in.

    Simply put, DMB is one of the main reasons I love music, and it’s good to see a positive critical reaction, whether it’s truly warranted or not.