In the midst of the early 1990s grunge boom, Counting Crows emerged as an alternative to the heavy, alienated sounds of the Kurt Cobain crowd. The California band harked back to the classic '60s folk-rock sounds of the Band, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison. Poetic frontman Adam Duritz proved quirky and charismatic enough to endear himself to the millions who bought the group's debut album. Neatly avoiding the notorious sophomore jinx, the follow-up album was even more accomplished, if not as commercially successful.
Recovering the Satellites may not be quite the tower of song that the Crows' debut August and Everything After was, but it could hardly be called a sophomore slump. Vocalist Adam Duritz and crew mine similar territory on the more densely produced Satellites, couching tales of dreamers, lovers, and losers in music that's part classic rock redux and part heartfelt folk jangle. As able as the band is though, it remains Duritz's show, and his plaintive voice and serpentine lyrics are what drive this record home, particularly on "Daylight Fading," "Miller's Angels" and the aching hit "A Long December." --Michael Ruby
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