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CRITIC'S CHOICE

Counting Crows, Saturday, March 5, at the Ogden Theatre, with Cracker, is one of the freshest, most darkly romantic bands to hit the music scene in a long, long time. The songs written by lead singer Adam Duritz, an amazingly keen poet for the under-thirty generation, burst with melancholy thanks to lyrics that capture with intense clarity just how hard it is to connect with one another, and how easily we fail. Duritz sets the Crows' songs to lovely, aching melodies or catchy, Van Morrison-inspired rock (as in the single "Mr. Jones"), and the other members of the band--keyboardist Charlie Gillingham, bassist Matt Malley, drummer Steve Bowman and guitarist David Bryson--create a rich sound that's enhanced by Hammond B-3 organ, accordion and the occasional mandolin. The result no doubt will prompt you to replay the band's debut disc, August and Everything After, until your neighbors beg you to stop. Or ask that you turn it up.

 
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