So, today I sat down at my desk and decided to listen to a band named Guster. I have to admit, I don’t know much about them – but it turns out that they met at Tufts University in Medford, MA (about 5 miles away) and lived in Somerville, MA on the corner of College and Warner, directly on Powder House Circle (also know as Powder House Square to the dumb-asses who name things around here).
Originally named Gus in 1991, by 1994 the group was forced to add -ter to the end when a second band – also named Gus – beat them to the national scene.
I’m a bit tempted to label the bands early work wus-jam (Alt-Rock in the style of Barenaked Ladies, DMB, John Mayer, and others) despite slight hints of REM. They sound too nice to be actual rock stars. As their career develops there is a clear progression from bar-band to touring-band, and tour they do, playing nearly 300 shows a year.
They’re an interesting band. Not necessarily prolific, 6 albums in 21 years, but consistent. Like an earthquake that is supposed to strike every 100 years, it is both exciting and a little terrifying knowing that pretty soon Guster will probably release their 7th album. With every day/month/year that passes, the odds go up.
I enjoy finding quality local music and Guster’s most recent albums have been closer to They Might Be Giants, albeit humorless, than Barenaked Ladies (which is a huge improvement). Their sound is clean and pleasant yet without distinction – an overly brothy soup that needs more salt.
Add a few carrots and a side of toast and you’ve got something quite appetizing, yet I would aggressively question the taste of anyone who ranks this as their favorite meal.