Dave Matthews Band

Stand Up (RCA)

If you've been waiting for Dave Matthews to release a recording capable of justifying his massive popularity, keep waiting. His latest isn't so much terrible as typical -- a minor variation on the college rock he's been making since his first batch of supporters actually were in college.

Progress? None to speak of. Although Davey offers up some genre exercises, his excursions into blues ("Hello Again") and boogie ("Louisiana Bayou") are about as authentic as Olestra. The title cut and "American Baby" work better because they've got decent if overly familiar grooves, but "Everybody Wake Up (Our Finest Hour Arrives)" is burdened by stereotypically topical lyrics and a notably contradictory title. If the song really represented Matthews's finest hour, everybody would already be awake.

Whenever Matthews puts out snoozy CDs, his apologists claim the material will sound better live, and that's certainly possible; it can't be duller than it is on disc. Still, anyone who's not a true believer will likely react to Stand Up by taking a seat. Or a nap.

 
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