A sense of personal renewal permeates “Somewhere Under Wonderland,” the seventh studio album from alt-rock band Counting Crows. Songs on the successor to “Underwater Sunshine,” the band’s 2012 album of cover songs by such artists as Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons were written in a matter of weeks at lead singer Adam Duritz’s Greenwich Village loft. Performing other artists’ beloved songs on “Underwater Sunshine” led to a burst of creativity that helped reshape the band’s approach. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Duritz’s deeply personal new songs. “Real loves outlives teenage lust,” Duritz sings in “Palisades Park,” an eight-minute tune of autobiographical reflection and tales of urban life in the late 1970s. The high-revving, cinematic rocker “Elvis Went to Hollywood” is an exhilarating ride on a loud motorcycle, whereas the melancholy “Possibility Days” is filled with romantic regrets. The driving blues-rock song “Dislocation” poignantly probes the isolation of modern life. The mood shifts again in “Cover Up the Sun,” a country-tinged rocker. Perhaps the most autobiographical song is “Earthquake Driver,” Duritz’ reflection on his life after the band’s first torrent of success following “August and Everything After,” the band’s 1993 debut album. Back then, Duritz felt he was starting over in life. And with his latest batch of songs, he seems to be doing that again.
September 2, 2014 at 5:16 PM