The Dave Matthews Band’s first post-break album is a folksy, jammy tumble that feels much like the group’s earliest work. Some of “Away From the World” is unabashedly cheesy, especially when Matthews uncages his lusty side on “Belly Belly Nice” or pleads in simplistic terms for a better world on “Mercy.” Though Matthews occasionally splashes around in shallow lyrics, the band overall cooks,
fleshing out these tunes in an integral way. The record forgoes the rough edges of its “GrooGrux” predecessor, instead bubbling like a lava lamp. “Broken Things” opens the album with a trademark tension-building contrast between desire and darkness. The record peaks with “The Riff,” which wends through fears and hopes and ultimately reveals the breadth of the band’s prowess. DMB wraps up with two long-form pieces full of guitar strums, violin slashes, jazzy rhythms, and barroom philosophizing — just like the good ol’ days. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “The Riff”
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds perform Sept. 23 at the Life is good Festival in Canton.