Sunday, April 8, 2012

Counting Crows - Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation)

I've been a Counting Crows fan for almost 20 years now, having fallen pretty hard for their debut August And Everything After. I saw their first show in town at Wetlands (with Jeff Buckley playing his third live show) and the SNL taping, but it was big rooms after that and I've not seen them since. I still checked out the records. The follow-up Recovering The Satellites was pretty aces as well, but also found lead singer Adam Duritz upping the douche factor by moving to LA, tending bar at The Viper Room and dating most of the cast of Friends.

Since then, the band has released three or four studio records and a gang of live stuff, managing to become a pretty big deal in the offing. I can't say I've been all that crazy about their recent output. I've seen Adam around town in various melodramatic female situations that must serve as fine song fodder. Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) came my way a while ago and languished in the review pile until I had a hankering to hear Four White Stallions and played the new version from this record. Giving it the old run-through, I'm pleased to find the boys have come up with a pretty entertaining little collection of covers for their first independent release after 18 years of Geffen.

Fifteen tracks here, with the most familiar being from Big Star and The Faces. Those are good, but the real gems here are the covers from the band's early years in the SF Bay Area. The Kasey Anderson track is exceptional, and the Tender Mercies and Sordid Humor tracks are pretty aces as well. The Teenage Fanclub falls a little short, but for the most part Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) is well worth checking out.


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