Dave Matthews Band has almost become its own genre -- bluesy jam-rock with a twinge of southern poignancy, and the immediately recognizable warble of its titular man at the helm. Although Dave has become a caricature of himself in recent years, it's hard to forget the immediacy of the band's biggest works -- "Crash," "Ants Marching," "41," the list goes on -- firmly rooted in the collective conscious of every millennial as a late night drunken sing-along fodder. Every Dave fan is familiar with The Lillywhite Sessions: a collection of unused studio takes that circulated the pirate market in the early aughts, scrapped in favor of the grittier Everyday. Oddly enough, Away From The World feels like the perfect marriage of these two sounds.
They would eventually release the lost sessions commercially as Busted Stuff, but it didn't quite pack the same punch with their longtime producer. Lillywhite's sense of the strengths and weaknesses of Dave's aesthetic was always apparent, and lauded, and here, the band reunites with the legendary producer of Crash, Before These Crowded Streets, and Under The Table and Dreaming to make their most memorable collection of recordings since 2004.
In interviews, Dave has said that Away From The World represents a bit more of an introspective approach to songwriting than the band's commercially successful, but aesthetically run-of-the-mill Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. Away From The World finds Dave and the band at their most revealing, and with Lillywhite at the helm, songs like "Broken Things," "Gaucho," and "Drunken Soldier" easily harken back to the band's most memorable riffs. It's a satisfying addition to the discography, which at times has felt like a group on auto-pilot. LeRoi would be proud.