Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun
Hootie & the Blowfish Musical Chairs Rating: 3 out of 5
These four guys from Columbia, S.C., haven't exactly shaken things up much musically since scoring big with their 1994 debut, Cracked Rear View.
So image my surprize that their third album - I Will Wait, Wishing, Las Vegas Nights, Only Lonely, Answer Man - unless you're into that trademark Hootie, middle-of-the-raod rock stuff (millions apparently are).
Instead, skip ahead to tunes like Michelle Post, a stripped-down number penned entirely bu bassist Dean Felber which features guitarist Mark Bryan on bajo for the first time and passionate vocals from frontman Darius Rucker.
That country music vibe also extends to One By One, due in no small part to the presence of electric slide guitar, the rootsy bluegrass of Desert Mountain Showdown, which is enhanced by violin and mandolin, and the bonus track, Closet Full Of Fear.
Bluesy Revolution, meanwhile, is propelled by a harder guitar sound and probably one of the edgiest tunes - at least in Hootieville - that this band has ever done.
The cool soul of What's Goin' On Here? is a direction I'd also encourage to be taken more often.
The band, who are currently on a scaled down club tour in the U.S., plan to perform a special USO tour for troops in such countries as Japan, South Korea, Germany and Italy. (Check out the new ballad Home Again - which appears to be a tribute to those American servicemen abroad - to find out what will likely become an anthem for them.)
Hootie already performed a special club show at the Phoenix in July, so don't expect to see them back here for a while.