COUNTING CROWS Hard Candy (Geffen) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Everything the Counting Crows do seems to sound like something I've heard before but can't quite place. Always an amalgamation of familiar guitar and vocal lines, whiffs of the Band, Van Morrison and all kinds of 70s radio rock, with snippets of Celtic and folk. Hard Candy does not stray from this path. Furthermore, the feast of familiarity now features the Counting Crows themselves. Mr. Jones, say, or Round Here would not be at all out of place on this record. While Hard Candy isn't any great advancement or departure, there's something comforting about the familiarity, and Adam Duritz's lyrics manage to tug at the heartstrings. The hidden bonus track cover of Big Yellow Taxi is actually the best track on the record. Well-played, well-constructed rock tunes for grown-ups.