Dave Matthews Band – Crash (Album Review)

Who would have thought jamming can be so appealing? This album will show the listeners the power of open-improvisation and jam session, whilst still pleasing them with all the laid-back, love-spirited, groove-driven songs that creates so much dynamics and give a great ambiance in the album. The album “Crash” is the second studio album by Dave Matthews Band, released in ‘96 and has received 7x platinum throughout its time.

The album was recorded with the original line-up (Carter Beauford on drum/percussion, Leroi Moore on saxophone/flute/trumpet, Dave Matthews on vocal/guitar, Stefan Lessard on the bass and Boyd Tinsley on violin) and with the help of Tim Reynolds on electric guitar and the great Steve Lillywhite (Rolling Stone, U2, Peter Gabriel) as a producer.

The album opens with the groovy guitar rhythm of ‘So Much To Say’, giving a bright mood as an introduction to the album. It is then followed by ‘Two Step’, a country-rock-driven tune that gives the elements of celebration and living life. One of Matthews’ most quoted lyrics in this song: “Celebrate we will, cos life is short but sweet for certain”.

Then, there comes ‘Crash Into Me’, the all-time fan’s favorite tune over the years that serves as a great love song with steamy ambiance and heartfelt lyrics. Despite of Matthews’ admittance of the lyrics which actually tells a story about peeping tom, it remains as one of the most beloved song by the fans and has become one of the great soundtracks in the 90’s. For some, this can be considered as the new ‘Satellite‘, the band’s highlighted song in their previous studio album, ‘Under The Table And Dreaming‘.

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#41’ serves as a prime example of what Dave Matthews Band is all about. With steady guitar rhythm by Matthews, the tune ends in the open space of improvisation for the band. Tinsley’s dynamic violin solo is blended well with Moore’s soothing saxophone playing and Beauford’s jazzy syncopated drum beats; giving a strong signature of the band as the song ends. The song segues perfectly with ‘Say Goodbye’ an African-groove-driven tune that is accompanied by a passionate flute playing by Moore throughout the song.

‘Drive In Drive Out’ is a significant example of Matthews’ uncanny guitar playing style that has inspired many people (including Jason Mraz and John Mayer) in terms of strong dynamic and melodically guitar rhythm throughout the song. Lessard’s solid bass playing is tightly gripped with Beauford’s drum playing which is simply timeless in this tune with his strong syncopation beats and additional percussion playing towards the end of the song.

‘Lie In Our Graves’ is another tune that serves as an open space that the band needed to do the improvisation. Matthews’ relation with death is nothing strange to everybody that follows his life story, and he mentions it through the lyrics quite often. Despite this song is about death, the brightness of the tune and the built-up ambiance towards the open jam session, in which Tinsley’s fired-up solo is always put during live concert, is something that will make the listeners sway all the way and wishing the jam would never stop.

‘Tripping Billies’ is one of the very early tune in the band’s inception that just made it to this album (originally featured in their first-independent album ‘Remember Two Things’). The spirit of the tune is highly praised by the fans, with Matthews’ famous line: “Eat, drink and be merry..for tomorrow we’ll die”. Matthews’ hippies day and his life back in South Africa is embedded clearly throughout the lyrics, with references of smoking marijuana through the line “Dragons were smoked”  and Matthews’ admittance of taking LSD on the beach with his friends and ended up talking to a police (a ‘Billy’). This tune is regarded as the ultimate party song for many of the fans.

Overall, this album serves as a great mood up-lifter with bright ambiance and musically complex yet accessible groove and beats throughout the songs. The unique character and mixture of funky roots, folk rock and jazz hybrid is truly given and shown in each song, and the sense of love and openness can truly be felt in this album; making it an excellent album to listen to for the new listeners of the band. And for the longtime fans, just be grateful that this album existed for your pleasure and gives you the space to dig the band even more with their musical talents and creativity.

Writen by: Bimo Murti | Singer-songwriter of Lazy Saturday Project | EP debut is available here

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