Pardon the Interlude: Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Away From the World’ doesn’t miss a beat



By Alexandria Sardam

The Dave Matthews Band have been around the block.

Having released more than 20 albums, losing saxophonist and longtime friend LeRoi Moore in 2008 and balancing tour time with family time, it’s safe to say the boys deserved some much needed “R and R” last summer.

After taking 2011 off to relax and make even more music, on Sept. 11 DMB recently released their latest album, “Away From The World.”

With help from producer Steve Lillywhite — the man who produced the band’s “Under the Table and Dreaming” and “Crash” albums — the band generates something new using the theme that’s comprised both Matthews’ life as well as the band’s musical backbone for the past decade: “good vs. evil.”

The album doesn’t miss a beat (literally) with its premier song, “Broken Things.” The song rips right into that familiar DMB-esque rattle, layering upward with a “Rhyme and Reason”-styled guitar riff and triumphant horns.

Guitarist Tim Reynolds joins bassist Stefan Lessard for a guided melody that gushes into the heat of the drums. Eventually, “Broken Things” is revealed through violinist Boyd Tinsley’s emotional solo, ripping beyond the ominous clots of the song allowing Matthews’ voice to trickle through.

“You can’t always trust the twist of fate” bleeds selflessly into the following lyrics of, “oh my love, my heart is set on you.” Electrifying the extent of how the band capitalizes on opposing themes complements one another musically and lyrically. “Broken Things” is the epitome of the classic, early-’90s-styled DMB tune.

Complete with another one of Matthews’ takes on nursery rhymes (he quotes his own version of “Jack and Jill”) “Belly Belly Nice” takes the title for “Most likely to generate the ‘Dave Dance’” off this album. The band is tight as ever from start to finish in this almost four-minute mash-up of delightful sin and smashing trumpets.

Songs such as “Mercy” and “Gaucho” play on Matthews’ views of change within the world through the efforts of man. Through the majority of the album, Matthews keeps a steady grip on his reality, sometimes resolving in a less-than-perfect world of losing love and acquiring wrinkles.

The intensity behind his realities becomes even more tangible throughout the album closer, “Drunken Soldier.” The song pioneers the album’s most insane journey, celebrating both elements of good and evil — to the extreme. Through variations of glorious crescendos that slide into an abyss of unexpected resolution, the album concludes leaving listeners wondering how intense that song will sound when performed live.

While the hints of growing old are more prevalent than ever before in this album, the lustful yearning and hopeless romanticism haven’t vanished, preserving Matthews’ boyish charm fans first fell in love with, long before the days of “Stand Up.”

The mood the album creates reflects its counter, flourishing in the most intriguing way. Matthews’ and the band’s precision to evoke worry and ignite passion within the constraints of a studio-length record is on point more than ever, making “Away From The World” one of their best yet.