Goose backs meteoric rise with modern song-oriented “Dripfield” (ALBUM REVIEW)

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Since forming in 2014, the Norwalk, CT-based jam outfit goose could never rest on its collective laurels. Shortly after their debut, they joined forces with multi-instrumentalist Peter Anspach, a move that helped solidify their unique sound through his eerie Shohei Ohtani-bi-directional capabilities on guitar and keyboards, followed by the addition of a percussion guru Jeff Arevalo several years later. When the global pandemic effectively shut down the live music industry in 2020, the quintet fortuitously became pioneers of the COVID era, filling the void with a series of highly successful socially distanced performances at drive-ins across the country as well as the production of their own comprehensive documentary, Bingo Tour: The Moviea critically acclaimed affair that chronicles a week of virtual concerts and community events.

Combine these remarkably shrewd logistical decisions with the band’s undeniable musical abilities, and it’s no wonder Goose’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years in a way that most other bands spend their entire careers at. dream. In a short time, the New England quintet went from opening for mid-level jam bands in sweltering clubs in front of a few dozen people to packed theaters and arenas, as well as leading a poster of major summer music festivals and sacred places. like the one in Colorado Red Rocks Amphitheater & Radio City Music Hall At New York.

Managerial innovations aside, any group will only go as far as their hardware will take them, a paradigm that Goose represents perhaps better than anyone. Their concerts are veritable musical orgies, mixing the indie sensibilities of Good Iveradventurous improvisation of Phishingand the deep writing of the song Grateful Dead in a unique and refreshing sound that pushes the boundaries of live music.

With their latest studio release, drip field (released 6/24) the band is making a concerted effort to ditch their jam band roots for a decidedly more independent sound, another bold move that pays off admirably thanks to its really solid original material: in particular a pair of reimagined fan favorites, plus a welcome guest appearance from New York Area Saxophone Stuart Bogie.

drip fieldwhich marks the quintet’s third studio album, is also the first to feature an outside producer, D. James Goodwin (The stable outfit, Amy Helm, Bob Weir), which hosted the band in its ultra-modern studio Isokon recording studio outside New York. “James was brilliant”, exclaims the guitarist Rick Mitarotonda. “He really made us think about our approach in so many different ways. I really enjoyed reworking some of the stuff that we’ve been playing for years and taking the material in directions I never would have thought of.

The album begins with “Borne”, a quiet mix with a haunting chorus that is one of a handful of new tracks released earlier this year and does an excellent job of showcasing Mitarotonda’s unique poetic approach to composing lyrics, characteristic of much of his original material. . “’Borne’ is a nice breath of unfiltered novelty; a statement from the start,” the guitarist explains as he describes the album’s opening track. “The song is a statement to yourself to remind yourself not to overthink things and to do them more than they should be. It’s a reminder to try to be honest and let our work be what it is.

“Hungersite,” another relatively new song that addresses the current state of world affairs with poignant lines such as “Is there still time to lay down our guns, my friend? / Is this the love we’ve drawn into our baseless depression? / Can we still climb out of the wreckage, my friend?,” is among the album’s many standout tracks thanks to an infectious guitar riff and overall upbeat demeanor.

The opening trio of new material ends with the title track, “Dripfield”, which shines with Goodwin’s masterful production skills, infusing the recording with a unique, modern sound. “Dripfield” also perfectly represents the natural dichotomy that exists between Goose’s concerts and their studio albums as it is one of several songs on the LP whose recorded length is significantly shorter than their live counterparts. At just over seven minutes, the album version of “Dripfield” is a far cry from the extended live cuts that have well exceeded the fifteen-minute mark in its handful of performances so far, including an epic thirty-minute read. minutes in Chicago earlier this year, and represents something of a departure from their previous album, Shenanigans Nite Club, which features several tracks that exceed the ten-minute threshold. That said, these abridged versions are a welcome change as they allow the listener to focus on the songs themselves rather than the jaw-dropping musical fireworks that are a staple of their live performances.

“Slow Ready”, the aptly named slower alter ego of shenanigans “So Ready,” succeeds as the sultry tempo of this arrangement complements the amorous subject matter of the lyrics nicely before one of the few Peter Anspach compositions to grace the album, “The Whales,” an upbeat country offering that contains a brief solo. but drama from Mitarotonda to close it.

The next pair of tracks is where the band’s creativity really shines through as it features reworked versions of “Arrow” and “Hot Tea”, two of Goose’s most beloved songs, especially “Hot Tea”, which dates back to the pre-Goose embryonic group Vasudo and is almost always a real show-stopper thanks to his intense closing jam during live performances. On drip field, however, the band took a decidedly different approach to each of the song’s arrangements, slowing each down about half a step and adding the indie-soaked vibes of Stuart Bogie on saxophone, providing a unique alternative to their analogues in direct. When asked about the new arrangement, Anspach explains, “Arrow” has always been a headache for us. It took us months of playing with the arrangement to finally compose it. And then in classic “Arrow” form, once we got to the studio, it changed it again. The resulting version was created the day we recorded it and was one of the most exciting days for all of us.

The album ends strongly with a duet of songs composed by Anspach, including “Moonrise”, a tender acoustic number yet to be played with a distinct touch. Simon & Garfunkel feel who was inspired by by Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdomas well as the airy love song “Honeybee” (featuring the affable “Coach” Jon Lombardi on rainstick because, why not?), before concluding with the windy “726” which features breathtaking vocals.

To say Goose’s meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years is unprecedented is an understatement. Aside from Billy Strings, there’s simply no other act that’s garnering so much buzz and attention in the biggest “jam” scene from fans and critics alike. While it remains to be seen whether this level of momentum is sustainable or not, whether drip field is an indication, this group may be just getting started.

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