Moore’s last outing finds the band reverting
The tragic death of longtime member Leroi Moore was a jarring disturbance for the Dave Matthews Band, a unit that has always seemed utterly perennial. Appropriately, the first voice heard on the band’s new album is Moore’s saxophone, which flows throughout the album and returns to center stage in the waning moments of beautiful closer “You and Me.” Touching and tasteful tributes to his loss, these bookends are—for better or worse—the only overt departure from basic business on the latest DMB album. While the band takes some sonic risks and shows continued versatility on songs like “Alligator Pie (Cockadile),” the album is saddled with some of the same leaden production values that have dogged the latter half of the band’s recorded career, and the weight of their pain creeps into the nooks where a joyful “Tripping Billies”-era DMB might have stuffed an extra dance. Still, fans will inevitably find catharsis in the group’s mature mourning.