Away From the World is the eighth and the latest studio album from Dave Matthews Band. Produced by their early-career producer Steve Lilywhite, this album consists of 11 songs that will surely take the listeners (old fans and recent ones) away from this world in terms of lyrical theme, unique musical composition and its wide range of genres throughout the album. It opens strongly at #1 of Billboard 200 in its opening week on September 2012, followed by a winter tour as an extension from the band’s annual summer tour.
The album starts with Broken Things, a song filled with dynamic electric guitar rhythm by Tim Reynolds and Dave Matthews‘ lyrical approach to the current situation of life and the world. The lyrics “How could we know that our lives would be so full of beautifully broken things” seem to represent a broader perspective in life as years pass by.
The powerful intro of Broken Things can surely be beaten by its following song, Belly Belly Nice. The horn section intro by Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross combined with Carter Beauford‘s unmatchable groovy drum beats may just lift the mood to higher level. The section of Coffin’s sax solo followed by Boyd Tinsley‘s violin playing during the bridge section is without a doubt a very unique composition to hear. The atmosphere of this song seems to be the reminiscence of Shake Me Like a Monkey from their previous album, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (see review here).
Mercy is the third track of the album. A ballad uplifting song that is dominated with steady piano playing and Reynold’s soothing guitar fills. Gaucho is the fourth track that starts with Matthew’s dynamic guitar rhythm that last throughout the song and ended with the powerful sing along phrase “You gotta do much more than believe if you really wanna change things”.
It is undeniable that Matthew every so often likes to put political satire in his lyrics. Nevertheless, this element manages to bring the band to be listed at #29 on Rolling Stone’s list of the top 50 albums of 2012, with the comments mentioned “The album’s political entreaties made for some of 2012’s best GOTV rock.”
The following track, Sweet, serves as the one of very few that brings up the childhood like feeling in our belly. Accompanied only by ukulele, Matthew’s voice is nothing but intimate in this one. Despite the album having more musicians than ever before, the closeness and the genuineness in this tune is something very rare that the band manages to bring in their album.
The Riff tells the self-exploratory journey of Matthew’s complicated thought in regards of love and own reflection. The lyrics “I don’t know the man that’s living in my head if I don’t know the woman sleeping in my bed” seem to reflect Matthew’s self-analysis with his surroundings. Belly Full serves as the only acoustic number in the album. Lyrically, it shows Matthew’s analogy to love with lines “If I had my way, it’s just for you,… Make your belly full and all your dreams come true”
Related: Belly Full – Cover by Lazy Saturday Project
If Only serves as a jazz fusion sound in the band with its groovy rhythm and dynamic song structure. Reynold’s electric guitar filling blends very well with Roger Smith’s (Tower of Power) Hammond Organ. Rooftop is an upbeat song with solid guitar rhythm by Matthew and Reynolds. Lyrically, the honesty and, in some way, the aggressive side of a passionate lover is shown with lines such as “I want you to tell me that you want me too”.
Snow Outside provides the typical sound of Dave Matthews Band, with melodically guitar rhythmic by Matthew throughout the song and the solid support of the band, ending with an open jam that gives the whole band the widest space to explore their music creativity. It’s not an unusual case that the band’s 5 minutes studio song may well be lasting over 20 minutes during live show.
As a closure to the album is Drunken Soldier, possibly one of the band’s most progressive-sounded tunes with solid playing and its dynamic song structure. Stefan Lessard‘s bass line is truly exceptional in this tune, bringing the perfect key to the band’s rhythm.
The horn section serves as the major melody maker to the song, and the references to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon can be heard within the song ending.
Overall, this album are made with a very strong presence of the band’s musical ability and creativity to explore wide ranges of musical genre that could take the listener away from the world temporarily.
The joyous, intimate and mature feeling can truly be felt in the band’s work for this album. The sound in each song truly brings different color to the album which collectively gives this album a must-hear for all the listeners who just simply love a little thing called music.
Writen by: Bimo Murti | Singer-songwriter of Lazy Saturday Project | EP debut is available here