August reveals a restless, confident band of songwriters who are steeped in the rock tradition yet anxious to extend it. It’s easy to hear the group’s influences – the Americana-drenched imagery and multi-instrumental explorations of The Band (“Omaha”); the entrancing soulfulness of Van Morrison (“Mr. Jones”); the lonesome Joshua Tree-era U2 (“Ghost Train”); but it’s much harder to specify the place from which music like this comes. And while the songs are almost always about individuals left wanting and lost, it is equally difficult to pigeonhole the Counting Crows’ sound.
In the 11 songs on August and Everything After, Counting Crows communicate complex (and often desperate) emotions honestly and intelligently without resorting to clichés or cheap sentimentality. That a young band achieves so much on its first album is an event well worth celebrating.
Matt Malley’s bass playing with Counting Crows is often overlooked. His lines are tightly written – there are no extraneous notes on this record. Outstanding. Check it out.
“Perfect Blue Buildings”
“Time and Time Again”
“Raining in Baltimore”
“A Murder of One”