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CD REVIEW

Guster: Lost and Gone Forever

By Jacob Beniflah

Staff writer

More than a year after the release of their second album, Goldfly, Guster returned to the music scene on September 28 with the debut of Lost and Gone Forever. The band’s third album incorporates several new music styles: it seems that the band is trying to appeal to a wider audience beyond its traditional strong following along the eastern seaboard.

Overall, this an incredible album. Every song is worth listening to. Though some may be disappointed that the album being only 44 minutes long, in this case quality counts more than quantity. For Guster aficionados, this album is a great third effort. For those new to the band, this is an excellent album to begin with.

Those familiar with the band’s first two albums will notice some changes immediately. The songs here feature more instruments (including flute and saxaphone) and depend less on vocals than before. Of course, Rosenworcel still plays the bongos in several songs, adding an amazing backbeat. Their newest album, produced by Steve Lillywhite, is composed of 11 tracks (Lillywhite, by the way, has also worked with such bands as U2 and Dave Matthews Band).

The album begins with a fairly mellow song, “What You Wish For,” with lots of instrumentals. Jumping into “Barrel of a Gun,” the album picks up the pace with another great song, a love ballad for a movie star -- the bongos really add a lot to this one.

One of the better songs is “Fa Fa,” with good instrumentals and the catchy chorus. “I Spy” is a short but good mellow song about the band’s journey to the “may parade.” The album takes a more upbeat tune with a bongo-intensive “Center of Attention.” The band’s vocals hit a high note with “All The Way Up to Heaven,” which also features whistling. Fans know the whistling bit so well that at the October 30 concert at the Orpheum, Guster allowed the audience to whistle that part. “Happier,” “So Long,” “Two Points for Honesty,” and “Rainy Day” wind down the album on a very different note.

Guster is composed of Ryan Millers (guitar and vocals), Adam Gardner (guitar and vocals), and Brian Rosenworcel (percussion). The band met in 1992 while they attended Tufts University and played at several clubs in the Boston area. Their first album, Parachute, was actually released under the name Gus in 1994. Soon afterwards, the band discovered that many other bands across the country were called Gus -- so they changed their name to Guster.

Guster’s initial fame began primarily because its fan base helped to spread the word. Quickly, the band’s popularity began to grow: they made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and also played at Woodstock ’99. In 1997, the band received the Best Live Music award at the Boston Music Awards. They have toured along the east coast and in some midwestern states, but the last few months they spent in San Francisco, working on Lost and Gone Forever. The band is touring again and will return to Boston on December 12. Unfortunately, according to the Guster website, the concert sold out in four minutes.