Hearing COUNTING CROWS again is like coming home after work, that combination of warmth and relief that becomes happiness after taking your shoes off, plonking yourself in a comfortable chair with a beer in one hand. The band has been a soundtrack to many of our lives but it’s latest “incarnations”, whether fair or unfair, never won over the 2000’s as they did the Nineties. There latest, Underwater Sunshine, won’t become an anthem to a new generation but is a comfortable listen with new directions.
‘Untitled (A Love Song)’ became an immediate favourite when subdued guitar screamed. Sure, that sounds like an oxymoron but it was certainly emotive and COUNTING CROWS aren’t a metal band – you’ll just have to listen for yourself. ‘Coming Around’ chorus touches pop with sing-a-long capability. The band introduces light country rock through ‘Start Again’ and continues with it in ‘Return of the Grievous Angel’, ‘Four White Stallions’, You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’ and ‘Amie’. I’ve never been a fan of the genre but my mind has been persuaded by the possibility after listening to artists such as Brent Kozak and Bruce Springsteen who aren’t country singers but, like COUNTING CROWS here, utilize it as an element in a greater whole.
I wasn’t an immediate lover of Underwater Sunshine. In fact, whilst i was packing up my home, i never grasped it although playing on repeat. But when i was unpacking at my new home, it embraced me with welcome. I replied, “Welcome back, my brother”. It may not contain anything near prolific and emotional as old hits such as ‘Round Here’ or ‘Colorblind’ but it’s an extremely consistent album with no failures. Best friends are ‘Untitled’, ‘Hospital’, ‘Like Teenage Gravity’, ‘Amie’ and the wonderful cover of Rod Stewart’s ‘Ooh La La’.