If the group’s name isn’t a dead give-away, Rory Tyer Band seems nothing short of infatuated with Dave Matthews Band and the casual jam-band sound that has made them famous. And with RTB’s newest release, I Still Find Hope, coming after a string of shows in many of Chicago’s premier venues, Rory Tyer Band should have plenty to look forward to, while still clinging to its obvious influences.
From the soft, pseudo-raspy vocals to the rhythm-centric instrument focus, they have certainly mastered all the mainstream jam-band tropes typical of Dave Matthews, John Mayer, O.A.R, Phish, and numerous others, but with a few surprises.
At the heart of I Still Find Hope lies the band’s most aggressive, and most experimental musical attempts: “What You Came For,” which begins with a subtle acoustic guitar and bursts into a Zeppelin-esque rolling guitar line, and “Day Drinking With F. Scott Fitzgerald:” a track with a little bit of everything, musically.
The best moments of “What You Came For” are actually the less than obvious effects and tremolo squeals that follow front man Rory Tyer’s megaphone anthem. The track is cathartic, and arguably the darkest the band has to offer, making for a strange dichotomy when compared to the previous four tracks.
“Day Drinking With F. Scott Fitzgerald” follows a similar structure as it begins slow and quite before giving way to a rollicking piano line, strings, and more electric guitar effects. These two tracks offer a wonderful breath of fresh air in what is otherwise a collection of standard, feel-good fair disguised by tinges of melancholy.
Many of the albums other tracks are fairly standard, but remarkably consistent, expeditions in jam-band folk/rock crowd-pleasers. I Still Find Hope offers plenty for Chicago’s north side Wriglyville crowd with their accessible sound that seemingly tries to ruffle as little feathers as possible; the six-piece has the formula down pat and is well on its way to growing its audience.
Still, the album gives the sense that the group is holding back. The instrumentation is ripe with talent and one can’t help but wonder what kind of music Rory Tyer Band could make if they toned down the “bro-rock” and really let loose.
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