Dave matthew Band (DMB to fan-boys like us) is pure comfort food. The bands music is nomadic in that it meanders across America,picking up different influences. Saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpeter Rashwan Ross bring in the smoky soul of New Orleans,while bassist Steffan Lessard and guitar wizard Tim Reynolds infuse a heady shot of the Blues; both sounds are nicely harmonised by some subtle drumming by Carter Beauford,while violinist Boyd Tinsley elevates the entire experience to a whole new pitch. Tying all these elements together is frontman Dave Matthews whose skills at the ukelele,guitar and piano,along with his part-velveteen-part-raspy voice and charismatic stage presence is probably the reason DMB is the best-selling live musical act in the world.
Away from the world,the bands eighth studio album and their first with producer Steve Lillywhite in more than a decade,shows just how well the group has aged. The bands familiar peppy feel-good funk sound is retained in tracks like Broken things,Rooftop and Belly belly nice,but there is also maturity in their music in songs like Sweet,Gaucho and Mercy. While the first is just Matthews singing to his ukelele (though the rest of the band joins in near the end to give the song an uplifting finish),ruminating about growing older,the latter carry a more social message about change and relationships,with expert word play.
The riff and Drunken soldier are the meandering soft-rock ballads that the group became famous for. They guarantee a goofy grin. But who cares what people say? As Matthews croons in Belly belly nice,When your barn is full of peaches,who cares what the preacher preaches.