It might not be what fans expected but that could be a silver lining. Californian band Counting Crows is surprising fans with a novel stance on their sixth studio album, Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation).

The album consists of covers selected from 14 artists, including Bob Dylan, Travis, The Faces and Gram Parsons. This album reveals the musical roots of what sparked the band’s inspiration and formed their style since their first album, August and Everything After, in 1993. According to an interview with lead singer Adam Duritz on, the band expected criticism but didn’t let that affect their decision. They wanted to record their old-school favourites – songs that deserve to be heard.

While most of the songs still echo the signature sound of Counting Crows, the band generally takes a mellow rock stance to their music, focusing less on deep baselines and more on acoustics. Duritz’s voice, which has impressed fans for the past 20 years, is easily recognisable throughout most of the album.

Underwater Sunshine kicks off with “Untitled (Love Song)”, a song from a newer band, The Romany Rye, that Duritz wanted to create more publicity for. “Ooh La La” is a standout track and is a matching, almost enhanced version of The Faces’s song on their Without a Paddle soundtrack. “Jumping Jesus” presents a gloomy tone and is a classic from Duritz’s former band Sordid Humor, which broke up in 1992. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, previously recorded by legendary artist Bob Dylan, brings out a folk-rock approach, exhibiting Counting Crows’s drive to highlight other genres.

Through affecting vocals and new arrangements, Counting Crows successfully brings a spark to a collection of assorting genres through a stretch of decades, which many other cover albums fail to do. Die-hard fans of Counting Crows may be disappointed that no new songs have been recorded, but the band manages to credibly infuse these covers with an originality and charm that makes the project worth it.

Listen to the “Ooh La La” music video above or on your smartphone @ Perdeby749e.

RATING: 7/10


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