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Underwater Sunshine


Rating: 6 / 10

Edwin McFee, 21 Mar 2012

After sound-tracking millions of troubled and ill-fated teen romances for nearly two decades, it seems as if Berkeley-based kings of the alt. ballad Counting Crows have had a bit of a rethink. They’ve left Geffen Records (their home for 18 years) and have taken a decidedly different path for album number six. Instead of returning to the fray armed with a clutch of new material to follow the success of 2008’s Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, the seven-piece have opted to put together a collection of covers featuring some familiar and not-so familiar tracks. This spirit of adventure infuses the opus with a sense of fun and excitement.

Songs by Gram Parsons, Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Fairport Convention and more get the Crows’ treatment and they’re all handled with love and affection. There are parts of the album which makes you think you’re sitting in a dusty old pub listening to one of the best bar-room bands in the world jam their favourite songs just for the hell of it: their versions of the Romany Rye’s ‘Untitled (Love Song)’ and Travis’ ‘Coming Around’ are superb. Singer Adam Duritz’s honeyed, emotive croon is as evocative as ever throughout the 15 tracks and he really does an admirable job matching wrinkly rocker Rod Stewart’s whiskey-drenched holler on The Faces’ classic ‘Ooh La La’. An enjoyable romp.

Rating: 6 / 10
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