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Light at the End

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Album Review

Rustic Overtones, the rock septet from Maine, suffered a familiar if heartrending fate in 2002. After six years of working their way up in the music business, they released their major-label debut, Viva Nueva, on the Tommy Boy imprint of Arista Records in 2001, just as company president Clive Davis was being forced out (he subsequently forced his way back in, of course) and Tommy Boy was being shuttered. Naturally, Viva Nueva got lost in the shuffle, and Rustic Overtones broke up. Five years later, they reunited, and Light at the End represents their return to record-making. It demonstrates what all the fuss was about in the first place. This band's music is an embarrassment of riches, its lineup combining guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards with a three-piece horn section for arrangements that run the gamut from punchy funk-rock ("Rock Like War") to acoustic folk ("Letter to the President"), with much in between. The obvious chops of the musicians and their versatility are a double-edged sword, however, since the band can seem chameleon-like from one song to another, sounding like the Dave Matthews Band at one moment ("Valentine's Day Massacre"), and like Simply Red ("Hardest Way Possible") at another. The direct "Letter to the President" (from a G.I. in Iraq, of course) seems modeled after Plain White T's' "Hey There Delilah," while "Troublesome" and the title song demonstrate a familiarity with the Beatles (early and late phases, respectively), and sometimes, as on "Happy," Rustic Overtones just sound like a good old soul band. Fortunately, what ties it all together is singer Dave Gutter's foggy, grainy voice. Again, the timbre of that voice is familiar — a little Matthews, a little Mick Hucknall, a little Rod Stewart, etc. But, along with the talented band, it makes for the kind of quality music that attracts loyal followings and, for better or worse, A&R men. Maybe in the new industry environment of the 21st century, with the major labels in decline, Rustic Overtones will be able to keep better control of their own destiny and soldier on. By the evidence of this comeback disc, they deserve to.

Customer Reviews

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These guys were a staple back in Maine where I attended college. Their albums have been hard to get since they broke up. Glad to see they are back on it -- GREAT band live. iTunes needs to make all of their prior albums available -- I think they are better than this latest one. Long Division (1998), is by far their best.

One of the Best Bands Ever!

Rustic picks up where they left off. After a breakup and a surprising return, the band reunites to create another great gem. If you can get your hands on any of their previous records do it! One of the most unique and exciting bands out right now.

Keep the good times rolling

Rustic Overtones is another one of those bands who had to overcome so much within the music buisness and are still around and stronger than ever. The new disc has a few new tunes along with the B side we were all wishing would finally be released!! Thank you Rustic for making more great tunes like the title track Light at the End, which channels Paranoid Social Club and Rocktopus esc licks, along with the usual Rustic flow. Please buy this album and support a band that deserves more credit than they get!!


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Rustic Overtones formed in Portland, ME, hometown to each of them. Members of this seven-piece outfit are guitarist and lead vocalist Dave Gutter, drummer Tony McNaboe, trombonist Dave Noyes, baritone saxophonist Jason Ward, bassist Jon Roods, alto saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and Spencer Albee on keyboards and piano. Roods and Gutter began performing together first, in a family basement. They later added the rest of the group, all friends from high school, and became what is Rustic Overtones. Local...
Full Bio
Light at the End, Rustic Overtones
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Customer Ratings