ARTIST: Umphrey’s Mcgee
TITLE: Anchor Drops
YEAR RELEASED: 2004
CHART ACTION: No
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: If you’re a fan, yeah, you ate this up.
LINEUP: Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger, Joel Cummins, Ryan Stasik, Kris Myers, Andy Farag
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jam band shows their musical versatility, but some songs still seem like skeletons used to jam all over the place in concert.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I’m of two minds of this album. Some of these tracks are pretty solid start to finish as self-contained tracks, and still others feel like they’re just a blueprint for jams.
That’s all well and good, and they do show off a bit as musicians, but songs are the thing on albums and sometimes they don’t quite measure up in that department.
Still, the playing is great and the vocals are decent (with harmonies thrown in there), but more substance and less flash could have made this a killer.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was the first album by them that got national distribution, instead of mainly being sold at shows.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: Could be better, but it’s about the best modern jam band record around.
ARTIST: Umphrey’s McGee
TITLE: Local Band Does OK
YEAR RELEASED: 2002
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably you’d only know these if you went to one of their shows – and you still may not know the title.
LINEUP: Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger, Joel Cummings, Ryan Stasik, Mike Mirro, Andy Farag
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Midwestern (originally from South Bend – HOOSIERS!) jam band records first album with any kind of distribution and becomes one of the hot bands of the circuit.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s the Dead, there’s Phish, and there’s a whole bunch of other bands in the jam band space. More of the bands really fall into the Phish variety – sound musicians that just love to play and show off their technique and theory and that just constantly play and jam together day after day to become a tight unit.
There’s nothing wrong with that, except that at times it can become tedious. I enjoy hearing the studio output of these bands because they’re usually the ‘shell’ of the songs that they go wheedly-wheedly-whee over AND they’re constrained (or used to be) by the length that an album could go. (Now with streaming, there’s technically no limit…)
Umphrey’s McGee is one of those ultra-proficient and tight bands that concentrate more on the mood and feel and less on the song itself. Here, it’s an enjoyable listen for the most part, and the long songs that stretch out don’t seem strained or long winded.
Obviously, they made their bones on their live shows but this is a pretty good studio effort.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their first studio efforts were mainly just sold at shows or to give to club owners saying they had released an album. This one was the largest selling CD at the first Bonnaroo.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: It might not be for those who are allergic to long instrumentals and jams, but it’s really a pretty decent effort all in all.