You would have had to sleep through the early â€˜90s to avoid being inundated by the Counting Crows. But there is life for this band after the pop hit â€œMr. Jonesâ€ and their acclaimed debut album August and Everything After. Adam Duritz has led the veterans now for over two decades and six albums, including the most recent, entitled Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation).
Rather than plotting a new course with Underwater Sunshine, the band is looking back to its roots. The album encompasses the history and influences of Counting Crows, including choice cover songs and work-ups from the pre-Crows catalog. Where the album succeeds is by avoiding over-played crowd-pleasers â€“ save Pure Prairie Leagueâ€™s â€œAmieâ€ â€“Â opting instead for more obscure cuts from Teenage Fanclub (â€œStart Againâ€), The Faces (â€œOoh La Laâ€), Gram Parsons (â€œReturn of the Grievous Angelâ€), and even pre-Counting Crows projects Sordid Humor (â€œJumping Jesusâ€) and Tender Mercies (â€œFour White Stallionsâ€). One thing is clear â€“ this Duritz and company have wildly divergent musical influences, and they do a fine job breathing their own pop life into classics and contemporary rock masterpieces alike.
For mainstream stalwarts, Counting Crows arenâ€™t afraid to step out of the shadow of expectations. Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation) is the rare occasion where you can hear Bob Dylan and Dawes delivered by an enduring fixture on the pop-rock scene. This is proof-positive that the Counting Crows’ range is broader than their hits.
Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation) is out now on