“Guster: Live Acoustic”

The Boston natives in Guster may be known for their onstage humor, but their newest release Guster: Live Acoustic is all about the music.

The band’s latest release, recorded live on their Spring 2012 acoustic tour with the Guster String Players packs all of the punch without any of the unnecessary bells and whistles. The group even took this release to the next level, by keeping it eco-friendly and local. The album was printed in Somerville, MA by Union Press on recycled paper and the album art was created by the group’s own lead vocalist and guitar player, Ryan Miller. The sixteen track effort demonstrates what true chemistry, musicianship and simplicity can accomplish.

Though the album features the sounds of Guster unplugged, there is no shortage of sound variety and instrumental sampling. From acoustic guitar, to harmonizing vocals, driving piano and percussion to the additional pleasure of the Guster String Players, Guster proves that there truly is an attention-grabbing uniqueness to a well-done stripped set.

Appreciation also needs to be paid to the album’s recording engineers that captured the audience’s participation with the utmost precision. You won’t find any overdone outros or excessive crowd noise that often cloud many live performance albums. The team behind Guster: Live Acoustic provides the right amount of applause and accolade giving the listener the full concert experience while still letting the true star of the record shine: the band and their music.

A definite crowd favorite, “Do You Love Me” aims to please and definitely succeeds. While managing to hold onto its fun and chipper tone, this song benefits from the occasional string sampling and truly shines with its on-point vocals. Never losing its message, “Do You Love Me” is almost even more beautiful in its acoustic form.

A track that brings a pleasant surprise to the record is “Satellite” a song that in its original form relies on a decent amount of electronic sound never loses its luster in acoustic form. With the use of some snappy and even embellished violin playing to replace the song’s signature electronic instrumentals, this version of “Satellite” is attention-grabbing and serves up a greatly appreciated intimate sound.

“What You Call Love” is another stand-out number in the record’s line-up. This version lets the vocals take the center stage to open the track while warm harmonies follow through with smooth violin and plucky guitar playing to round out the song’s fulfilling sound.

“This Could All Be Yours” closes out the record with fizzling violin, brazen piano and truly beautifully done harmonies that can only be perfected with the over two decades of work that the group has put in together as a group.

This record takes a band’s live sound and perfects it in a way that only true dedication can. In a performance that is both personal and awe-inspiring Guster lets their talents be shown without the illusions of excessive production and it is this simplicity that makes this a stand-out record. Stripped-down and exposed so that the music can take center stage, Guster might be unplugged but their game is definitely spot on.

By Alex Parker

If you liked this, check out:
“Optica” by Shout Out Louds
“The Lives Inside…” by Matt Pond

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <iframe width="" height="" frameborder="" scrolling="" marginheight="" marginwidth="" src="">