Tom Sinclair
January 14, 2009 AT 05:00 AM EST

Noble Beast

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Andrew Bird
genre
Rock

We gave it a B

If your idea of a jam band is a posse of unwashed hippies reworking tropes from the Dead and the Allmans, you need to hear Mantis, the eighth album from this Chicago-based sextet. Umphrey’s McGee stand revealed as consummate musical alchemists, deftly reconfiguring sounds from rock’s vast panoply of styles, and evoking bands as diverse as Steely Dan, Metallica, XTC, Rush, and the Beach Boys without sounding like copycats. This bunch aren’t just flaunting their impressive chops because they can; the sleekly constructed tunes (no noodling here) sparkle with a sweetness and soul that’s more than the sum of their influences. B+

Download This: Keep checking the band’s official site for updates on the new album

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