The Easy Wonderful CD design is telling: the disc is a vibrant, organic hand-drawn color wheel (see the cover) with a massive “FBI Anti-Piracy Warning” stamped over it; this design — whether the band approved the warning or not — finds Guster, as always, an engaging band with a knack for beautiful songwriting but with too much feeling forced or underwhelming this time around to truly impress alongside their back catalog (i.e. Keep It Together, anyone?).
The epitome of a three star album: not a masterpiece, but a solid collection of raw yet concise, grungy rock tracks that are energetic and enjoyable — Takac and Rzeznik splitting lead vocal duties and even sharing a duet is a dynamic arrangement.
Mullins is a distinctive songwriter, steeped in tradition but indisputably original, and he assembles a keenly woven set of tracks in Light You Up — still, there is something tauntingly brief about Matthew Sweet’s appearance on “California.” (You petered out after your debut, so mull it over: an electric Thorns album would be sweet!)