Adam Duritz has a lot to say…at least that’s what you gather by reading his nearly 10,000-word press release for the Counting Crows new releaseUnderwater Sunshine (or what we did on our summer vacation). Apparently he had a lot to say in the album title as well.
In a nutshell, Counting Crows are releasing their new album, which is a covers album, independently and they like music. They REALLY like music. The majority of the members are in side bands, (some more than one) and the group supports said side bands seemingly going out to see someone play live every night. Yes, they really do love their music.
So why not gather some of their favorite songs from these side bands throw in some favorite mainstream songs and record them as the Counting Crows? Done deal.
Underwater Sunshine, which was produced by the Counting Crows along with Shawn Dealey, oepns nicely with the guitar-driven track “Untitled (Love Song),” what is it with this band and parenthesis? The song, originally recorded by The Romany Rye is the perfect song to kick off the album with its lazy laid back groove.
As the album flutters along, “Hospital” was written by Coby Brown early last year as a demo and the Counting Crows polish it up to turn it into a gem…the strong pop rocker leaves the listener hanging on the edge of Duritz’ vocals. One of the most powerful lesser known covers on the record is “Like Teenage Gravity” written and recorded by Kasey Anderson. The track is slow and somber with just keyboards, vocals and powered by heavy drum beats until the song builds and the other instruments kick in adding an explosive mix.
Some of the more popular covers which the casual listener will recognize include – “Amie” by Pure Prairie League; “Ooh La La” by the Faces; “Return of the Grievous Angel” by Gram Parsons; “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” by Bob Dylan & the Band and “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star.
At 15 songs, Counting Crows’ Underwater Sunshine (or what we did on our summer vacation) runs a little long, but the band did achieve what they set out to do. They had fun. Weather it was a guitar-driven rocker or a piano-based ballad, the band seems light on their feet, yet tight musically. They had no pressure in recording these songs since they were putting the album out themselves and it shows in the songs.