In an Outline
For its ninth album, this prolific and innovative jam band moves into more electro-trimmed realms. Over the band’s foundation of drums, bass, and guitar, it dynamically balances string and horn arrangements with analog synthesizers, dub echoes, manipulated sounds, and electronic rhythms. “Golden Ghost” opens with a sophisticated funk groove that uses short bursts of vocals as an extra instrument. “Blacklight Sunflare” follows, as distorted bass synths nicely contrast a sweeping string section. “Dowrn” features rubbery bass tones slinking around old-school keyboards that approximate vintage videogames; the result sounds like a more soulful version of Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade. The only vocal track here, “The Surf,” plays a bit like rave culture’s very own Jack Johnson, with lilting inflections, reverberated guitars, and glittering keyboard ambiance creating what sounds like beach-party music from the not-too-distant future.