Umphrey’s McGee | Anchor Drops (Sci Fidelity)

If you define rock by a various mix of genres like the pop, metal, and jazz that make up most of Umphrey’s McGee’s latest album Anchor Drops, then this band from South Bend, Indiana, is on to something.

 

Umphrey’s McGee is the quintessential jam band (behind the likes of the kings, The Grateful Dead and Phish) and guitarist Jake Cinniger says, if nothing else, “we put on a rock show.” But I guess that depends solely on how you define rock.

If you define rock by a various mix of genres like the pop, metal, and jazz that make up most of Umphrey’s McGee’s latest album Anchor Drops, then this band from South Bend, Indiana, is on to something. It seems you might not be alone in that rock definition, either. Touring constantly every year and participating in festivals from Bonnaroo to SXSW, Umphrey’s McGee ignites an unexpected, revolutionary sound on stage every night, inviting hundreds of listeners to enjoy this improvisational mesh of rock.

Six years into its existence, Umphrey’s McGee has topped off its lineup with (appropriately) six members and feels Anchor Drops is the first album to capture their live energetic existence in form. I can’t deny it’s full of raw complexity, flowing melody, and sweet if not perplexing lyrics. “Bullhead City” slows the jam down, and even back-hills, bluegrass influence can be heard, and then in McGee’s fashion the album takes a twist into “Miss Tinkerbell’s Overture” where the dual-guitar attack is almost too much.
Almost…because it seems Umphrey’s McGee continues to push musical boundaries into invariable growth. And isn’t that what rock is all about?

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