Acoustic Syndicate – Long Way ‘Round
1. Long Way Round - 5:17 2. Talk To Me - 4:28 3. The Blue Bird Train - 4:56 4. Hypocrite Smile - 6:41 5. The Rhythm Of Us - 4:14 6. They Come This Way - 4:44 7. Carry The World - 5:45 8. The Pilot - 6:38 9. Been There Again - 4:32 10. Bound - 4:08 11. Wake Intro - 1:10 12. Wake - 4:55 13. A Prayer For Solace - 6:57
Bryon McMurry (vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo) , Steve McMurry (vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin) , Fitz McMurry (vocals, drums) , Jeremy Saunders (saxophone) , Jay Sanders (double bass, bass guitar)
1. AllMusic - Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
Although Acoustic Syndicate have only recorded a few albums, that makes them an established band in the fairly new phenomena of jam bands. Long Way Round delivers exactly what fans have grown to like about the group: upbeat, tuneful songs, solid instrumental work, and bright vocals. There are nice story-songs like "The Blue Bird Train" and funky pieces custom-made for concert jams like "Talk." There also seems to be an attempt to offer more vocal variety on Long Way Round, and the instrumental dexterity -- guitars, banjos, electric guitar, and saxophones -- gives the band a distinct sound. While this approach has produced a solid album, how one relates to the band's lyrics will depend on the listener. Acoustic Syndicate keep things upbeat and positive, which is refreshing, but the lyrics can seem overly obvious and forced. A skilled songwriter like Robert Hunter would've never told the listener that "Sugar Magnolia" just wanted to be free or spelled out that the "Dire Wolf" represented death. Bryon and Steve McMurry, however, don't mind telling instead of showing exactly what's going on, which leaves little to the listener's imagination. Some listeners may also have a problem with song length on Long Way Round. "Hypocrite Smile," for instance, has a tuneful chorus, but the verses meander a bit, which becomes monotonous after six minutes. And the bouncy "Long Way Round" (written by Larry Keel) is likable enough, but also overstays its welcome. It's doubtful that Acoustic Syndicate fans will be bothered by either the lyrics or the lengths of the songs, since that's probably what they've come to expect from the band. For them, Long Way Round will be another solid performance from one of the brightest groups in the jam band constellation.