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Widespread Panic

Free Somehow

The only downside to a live band is that a live band often times takes a live band approach when recording an album. Often times you’re left with an uninspired better-quality live album, which isn’t bad… it just makes you feel slighted somehow. There have been a few Widespread Panic albums like this over the years, but I’m happy to say the new album “Free Somehow” doesn’t fall into that category. Every solo on the record is crisp and unique and John Bell’s vocals have never sounded better. The instrumentation and the production is as tight as it has been on a Widespread Panic album and that’s a definite plus, but on the other side of the argument I’m not a huge fan of the songwriting. It’s okay, but there are a few tracks on this album worth skipping. “Three Candles” is a bit of a snooze fest and “Dark Day Program” drags on a little too long even though it’s got a great start. Special mention has to made for “Her Dance Needs No Body” it’s the best production that’s ever been on a Widespread Panic album and it’s an 8 minute jam fest that comes close to what the band is like live. If Widespread Panic made 6 tracks like “Her Dance Needs No Body” on every album they’d be one of the best bands to ever play. “Free Somehow” has its ups and its downs but ultimately it turns into a good record with some strong tracks at the end of the disc. Fans of the band (the devoted fans of the band) will love this record just like everything else these guys have shoved out over the past three decades, but casual fans should bust out iTunes and download “Her Dance Needs No Body” it’s a great track. All for some- some for most is how the new Widespread Panic album can be described- it’s good enough that some will listen to over and over while some should only check out a track or two. That’s more than you can say for most bands, there’s a reason why these guys have been around for three decades.


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