Album Title: Everyday
Artist: Dave Matthews Band
Running Time:50m 56s
Track listing: 1 I Did It; 2 When The World Ends; 3 The Space Between; 4 Dreams of our Fathers; 5 So Right; 6 If I Had It All; 7 What You Are; 8 Angel; 9 Fool to Think; 10 Sleep to Dream Her; 11 Mother Father; 12 Everyday
In America, they are the biggest rock band on the circuit. Yes, even more popular than Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi and, eh, Posion. In the United Kingdom, people might think for a second on hearing Dave Matthews name before declaring that they’ve never heard of him. Yes there really is that big a divide across the Atlantic. Meanwhile Toploader and Mel C continue to sell bucketloads of records but what you gonna do.
South African-born Dave Matthews releases his band’s fifth studio album. “Everyday”, following huge success with “Remember Two Things” (1993), “Under the Table and Dreaming” (1994), “Crash” (1996) and 1998’s “Before These Crowded Streets”. The unique, somtimes indulgent, worldly-rock sound that Matthews has pioneered has had critics foaming at the mouth for years, and with good cause. “Everyday” represents a more mainstream and accessible effort that might indicate the band’s wish to spread their wings a bit.
The opening track, and lead single, ‘Everyday’ is one of the album’s best efforts. Not straying too far from his roots, Matthews displays his trademark gravel-voiced, quick-fire lyrics, showing little remorse for all the wrongs he’s committed – ‘I did it/Do you think I’ve gone too far?/I did it/Guilty as charged’. The rhythm is infectious, the brooding baseline creating a terrific contrast to the upbeat chorus.
‘When The World Ends’ sees Matthews back in top lyrical form with powerful images of armageddon, mixed in with the sensitive and sexual lyrics that have defined much of his mid-tempo work over the years. Similarly, ‘The Space Between’ is passionate and rather beautiful, while the funky ballad ‘So Right’ has single written over it. ‘Stay up and make some memories with us now;our love is so right/I wouldn’t waste a minute here tonight’ sings Matthews. Much of the music’s unique sensitivity can be attributed not just to Matthews stunning vocals and lyrics, but also the string and horn section of sax-player, Leroi Moore, and talented violinist, Boyd Tinsley.
‘If I were a King/If I had everything/If I had you and I could give you your dreams;tell me what in the world would I go on for’, laments Matthews on the album’s standout track, semi-acoustic classic, ‘If I Had It All’. This is probably as far from the DMB sound that Matthews strays, but it works brilliantly and is one of the band’s great achievements. The almost prozac sound of ‘Angel’ manges to be charming and accomplished at the same time, while on a different tack entirely, the title track closes off the album with an essential funk groove and gospel-choir backing vocals.
The seamless link between past and present DMB is very evident also in the electric warning call of ‘What You Are’ and the historical grumble, ‘Dreams of our Fathers’. Both songs work surprisingly well and you can be sure that if you enjoy them, you’ll love the earlier material.
There are a few minor problems. ‘Sleep to Dream Her’ is just a bit too sacharine and light-weight to add much to the album, while ‘Fool to Think’ tries it’s best but the multi-layered instruments just end up being a bit too disorganised and confusing. Rather predictably ‘Mother Father’ goes completely over-the-top with Dave’s sensitive political and social thoughts becoming over-bearing to say the least – ‘Mother father do you know/Why one mans belly overflows/Another sleeps in hunger’s bed/We trade our world for a piece of bread’. Sorry Dave, too much.
Overall this is a marvellous piece of work. Not quite “Under the Table and Dreaming” but probably up there with the band’s previous two efforts. I ask again, why doesn’t the rest of the world know about the Dave Matthews Band? It’ll happen someday, maybe for “Everyday”.