Crash It doesn't take a genius to figure out the appeal of Dave Matthews Band. To rock fans burned out on the hordes of Nirvana knockoffs… Crash It doesn't take a genius to figure out the appeal of Dave Matthews Band. To rock fans burned out on the hordes of Nirvana knockoffs… Dave Matthews Band Rock
Music Review

Crash (1996)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Lead Performance: Dave Matthews Band; Genre: Rock

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the appeal of Dave Matthews Band. To rock fans burned out on the hordes of Nirvana knockoffs and Hootie hopefuls, the Virginia-based quintet's ear-catching jazz-folk fusion must seem like an entirely new genre. Rootsy yet exotic, Crash, the band's third album, substitutes high-flying violin and saxophone solos for guitar wank, weaving such disparate elements as flamenco, funk, and country into the crazy-quilt mix. This sort of melange isn't wholly without precedent — such forgotten early '70s groups as Mark-Almond and the Flock attempted a similar thing — but it sure sounds, well, fresh.

The band's top-flight musicianship doesn't hurt, either; these boys can play. Cock an ear to Boyd Tinsley's violin rave-up on ''Tripping Billies,'' or sax man Leroi Moore's mellifluous honking on ''#41.'' Then there's Matthews' voice: Otherworldly and elegantly elastic, it fosters the impression that this guy must be some sort of visionary, even when he's singing claptrap like ''Now I am the proudest monkey you've ever seen/Monkey see, monkey do, yeah.'' On second thought, that lyric could be construed as a taunt to would-be competitors. After all, one of the nicest things about DMB's music is that its distinctive complexity serves as a virtual assurance against a flood of lame imitator bands. B+

Originally posted May 03, 1996 Published in issue #325 May 03, 1996 Order article reprints
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