Guster, "Easy Wonderful"

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Guster fans expecting a more mellow sound from the band are in for a rude awakening. The group's latest release, "Easy Wonderful," is the quartet's most upbeat album to date. Arriving four years after "Ganging Up on the Sun," the new guitar-driven, folk-pop set could be the perfect soundtrack for an easygoing day at the beach. On the optimistic anthem "Bad Bad World," lead vocalist Ryan Miller sings, "There is love, there is peace in this world/So take it back it, say it's not what you had thought." Elsewhere, with a programmed background beat and an electric guitar solo during the bridge, "Do What You Want" stands apart as the set's most electronic-sounding track. Guster slows things down with the campfire ballad "Stay With Me Jesus," which opens with the plucking of acoustic guitar strings and later harmonizes a few choruses of "hallelujahs." After 15 years of recording together, the members of Guster deliver their poppiest, most cohesive effort with "Easy Wonderful."