GOO GOO DOLLS – Boxes (2016)
GOO GOO DOLLS are celebrating their 30 years of existence with a new release, “Boxes“. On this new album, the Goo Goo Dolls seem to have rekindled the charismatic flair first featured on 1995’s breakout album A Boy Named Goo, launching the band atop rock’s mainstream menu.
30 years. This amount of time constitutes the entirety of what many consider to be the middle-age of an average human being. For the Goo Goo Dolls, this number represents the amount of time they’ve spent evolving.
Evolution isn’t really the first word many would use to describe the pop-rock outfit hailing from Buffalo, but it has defined their surprisingly dynamic career.
They formed in 1986 as a punk-heavy rock outfit in Metal Blade Records, barely able to play their instruments and often under the influence of alcohol and other drugs when showing up to record or perform.
Their third album, Hold Me Up, signified their transition, a trend that continued with the critically well-received but oft overlooked Superstar Car Wash. However, after they broke through on mainstream radio with Name in 1995, they eventually morphed into the adult contemporary mom idols we know today.
The point in mentioning all of this today is that the Goo Goo Dolls are, at their heart, a band that knows how to tweak the various facets of their sound and still maintain their identity.
On “Boxes”, the Goo Goo Dolls manage to stay true to a back-to-basics formula that ultimately produces an infectious collection of pure pop-rock bliss.
Sure, it’s all safe, easy melodies, but darn good modern rock. With tracks like, “Over and Over,” “Souls in the Machine,” “The Pin” and “Reverse,” the new album delivers some solid guitar-driven tunes centered around the polished vocals of John Rzeznik, who sounds better than ever.
The smooth-singing Rzeznik temporarily steps aside from the microphone to allow bassist Robby Takac to add his gritty vocals to “Free of Me” and “Prayer in My Pocket” for a slight change of pace that harkens back to the band’s early days.
In terms of songcraft, Goo Goo Dolls are a model of consistency: few bands have amassed a catalog with so many solid, well-written tunes. And while not everything is successful on Boxes—for example, the midtempo, synth-burnished “Lucky One” tries too hard to sound modern—every song has seamless arrangements and a distinctive approach.
Plus, it’s almost impossible to be cynical in the face of comforting lyrics such as “Don’t be afraid, darling—I know you’ll always be brave.”
Yes, very nice modern rock&pop indeed.
01 – Over and Over
02 – Souls in the Machine
03 – Flood (feat. Sydney Sierota)
04 – The Pin
05 – Boxes
06 – Free of Me
07 – Reverse
08 – Lucky One
09 – So Alive
10 – Prayer in My Pocket
11 – Long Way Home
John Rzeznik – vocals, guitar
Robby Takac – vocals, bass
Craig MacIntyre — drums, percussion
Gunnar Olsen — drums, guitar
Shawn Pelton — drums
Mike Adubato, Drew Pearson — keyboards
Sydney Sierota — vocals
Brad Fernquist — guitar
Derek A.E. Fuhrmann — guitar, piano, background vocals
Clare Fisher, Gretchen Fisher, Kiersten Fisher — strings
Yazz Alali, John Alicastro, Rachel Kanner, Kim Kat, Mark Neisser — background vocals
BUY IT !