It’s been seven years since Counting Crows have released a batch of new music. Even scarier still, it’s been 28 years since the iconic ‘Round Here’ — still my favourite track of theirs, obviously — was released. Anybody else feeling ancient yet? I mean, I hadn’t even been born at that point…
Their timeless formula of rock isn’t in question here on this new EP. In fact, the four-track ‘Butter Miracle, Suite One’ utilises their standard gentle riffs and chord progressions, with picked strings for good measure throughout. Of course, Adam Duritz’s vocals stitch everything together, but it all still flows softly and undeniably together.
Proceedings kick off with ‘The Tall Grass’, which incorporates some token tinkling sounds over the steadily paced drums and guitars. It’s gradual and easy to listen to, but it doesn’t knock even one of my socks off, to be blunt. It just rumbles along quite nicely. Things get more uptempo and enjoyable on ‘Elevator Boots’ though, the second track. It’s like country meets very mellow grunge — or if Creed and ZZ Top were to share a stage for just one song, if you will.
There’s a bit more rhythm to the upbeat ‘Angel of 14th Street’, a piece that very much reminds me of Counting Crows’ formative offerings. And it’s to their credit that they can still stay on-brand — and on-band — in that way. It’s definitely more rock ’n’ roll than the others.
The scale slides upward once more on the EP finisher, ‘Bobby and the Rat-Kings’. It’s quintessential rock harnessing country harmonies, paving the way for Duritz’s Californian twang to come through, too. Another good one.
I should caveat this review with the fact that I’m not some enormous Counting Crows fan, but I do respect their career and all the records they’ve churned out over the decades. They’re among the classics so it was well worth putting this write-up together.
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Elevator Boots’