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Volume 70, Issue 142, Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Life & Arts

'Stand Up' a new stance for DMB

By Matt Dulin
The Daily Cougar

Once you hit the title track of Dave Matthews Band's Stand Up, you know it's going to be one good album.

Shortly after you hear Dave wax romantic over a "Dreamgirl" and then recollect the good old days in "Old Dirt Hill," it hits you, and here's the kicker: It only gets better. 

Even "American Baby," the single released for radio, improves with the "American Baby Intro," laying the song in a wartime context.

Yes, the band ventures into familiar territory, dabbling in politics, spirituality and sex, among other themes, but Matthews manages to keep a fresh perspective to match the band's fresh sound.

While Everyday and Busted Stuff were shaky and inconsistent in a quest for a different sound, Stand Up is confident, even boisterous. If fans' faith was shaken with the uninspired electric riffs of "I Did It," they are redeemed by DMB's latest jams. 

The album takes the strongest parts of their last two efforts and makes the next logical leap. The band doesn't sound like it did 10 years ago, for sure, and never will. If anything, it sounds better -- more finely tuned, more cohesive, more collaborative. Fans who take Stand Up to be one more faltering step are gravely mistaken.

In producing Stand Up, Mark Batson (who has worked with 50 Cent and Eminem) encouraged each band member to explore their own strengths, even if it meant picking up a different instrument. You'll hear piano pieces from Matthews or electric guitar from bassist Stefan Lessard. In a one-on-one session with Batson, violinist Boyd Tinsley plucked the notes that would become "American Baby."

Batson's approach was likely a big part of Stand Up's success. The result is a fresh, engaging sound that will lure listeners deeper into the album.

Many songs lean heavily on percussion, which Carter Beauford delivers expertly, eradicating any shred of doubt in the band's ability to jam. Leroi Moore's saxophone is a bit understated, but he gets his own solo to close up "American Baby."

Stand Up is full of the hallmarks of a genuine DMB product: longer songs, head-boppin' jams, lyrical blending and good music.

Dave Matthews Band

Stand Up

RCA

Verdict: Just in case you were worrying, Stand Up is evidence the Dave Matthews Band still knows how to rock.
 

 Send comments to dcshobiz@mail.uh.edu

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