For all who missed the happy-go-lucky Crows, the band that released the multiplatinum success story August and Everything After
, you are in luck. This Desert Life
signals the return of the Rain King himself, Adam Duritz, and better still, his sense of humor. Although Duritz's gray skies have yet to turn sunny and cloud-free, his new record spends a considerable amount of time trying to turn that frown upside down. The album's first single, "Hanginaround," is a loose, jangly, uptempo sing-along filled with happy, handclapping background singers and beefy guitar solos. And it's not the only song on the album in a chipper mood: Tracks like the inappropriately titled "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby," the fuzzy and friendly "Four Days," and the Wallflowers-esque "St. Robinson In His Cadillac Dream" all have a warmer, more welcoming demeanor to them. But Duritz's softer side is not completely gone. Songs such as "Amy Hit the Atmosphere" and "Colorblind" still have that "A Long December" vibe found on the last album, Recovering the Satellites
. But as a whole, the new record seems to want to recover the feelings the band captured on its debut. And longtime fans may agree, This Desert Life
finds the band on the other side of the badlands, possibly looking for a hit or two.