Even if you don’t like jam bands, Goose might convince you. Since their inception in 2014, the Norwalk, Connecticut quintet has grown into a live force with a buzz well beyond the sometimes insular jam band ecosystem. (How many jam bands are hired by Ezra Koenig to officially remix a Vampire Weekend song?) When I saw their viral set at Peach Fest 2019 – which, like many Goose sets, you can stream in full on YouTube – I thought wow , these guys can play† But it wasn’t just their virtuoso performances: in between the sprawling solos they had real songs that I walked away humming. Then, in March 2020, as the world struggled to survive amid COVID, Goose made headlines — and real money — from their well-produced virtual events and tours, becoming industry news.
While their first two studio albums were good collections of songs written to sound even better live, drop field being positioned as Goose’s first real album: an introductory statement that coincides with their relentless touring and mainstream breakthrough. You immediately hear what makes Goose different from his contemporaries. Unlike other jam albums that immediately show off, this hour-long LP takes its time to unfold and open with the slow and luscious “Borne”. Guitarist Rick Mitarotonda is an unusually smooth vocalist, using his voice more as a melodic instrument than a megaphone for any ego or brand. There’s also multi-instrumentalist Peter Anspach, who plays most of the keys on the album and finds a way to make his contributions a highlight of any song.
the most of drop field was written between Mitarotonda and Anspach, who now seem to understand that a studio album can be a separate entity from their live show, with different skills and atmospheres. Testing the studio’s potential with “Borne” continues with a seamless transition to “Hungersite”, which features the album’s best riffs and a guitar solo for you to sing along to, all propelled by the great rhythm section that helps make this album stand out. sound as it should. this band could once be alone on stage: big†
drop field It’s Goose’s first time working with an executive producer, and they made a fitting choice with D. James Goodwin, who has included Bob Weir as well as jam-friendly indie acts like Kevin Morby, Bonny Light Horseman and Whitney. While he appears to have been chosen to bring in some indie cred and help curb the jam excess, he could have used his power to veto “Slow Ready,” a no-payout midtempo plot, and ‘Honeybee’, what a fine Fleet Foxes imitation and little else. Thankfully, the album returns with “The Whales,” a welcome change of pace that goes for “Touch of Grey” jangle. This is the tempo best suited for Goose in the studio, and it carries through the live highlight “Arrow” and the merry “Hot Tea”, both hitting with delicious craziness in their horn parts, courtesy of Stuart Bogie.
All this helps to drop field the rare jam studio album that doesn’t need to be heard live to be understood. Just because it doesn’t suck doesn’t make it excellent, though. Many of the songs have been part of Goose’s set for years, and those performances remain the best way to experience them. And like most albums in the genre, each song can benefit from some real hooks and can be cut short by a verse or two. Yet drop field achieved something that is difficult to do in the studio. Goose Jam is carefully constructed to slowly but surely pull us into the grooves; many times I found myself lost and forgot what song I was on, content to let the music come out. In the same way we rarely remember the beginning of our dreams, stumbling into the action and following the loose threads, Goose has a distinct ability to put listeners in a trance, even stopping time for a moment. It’s one of the defining strengths of jam bands, and drop field has enough modest peaks and valleys to bring us into their world.
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