According to the information provided, the Chicago based band Umphrey's McGee (UM) is said to be one of the best American jam bands. While listening to this album these guys know how to play music without a shadow of a doubt, whether you like it or not. Many complex rhytms, even more style influences and a whole lot of original ideas to give progressive rock a renewed face. The production isn't bad at all, but I would have liked a somewhat heavier and richer sound. Furthermore I'm not particularly fond of the sound of the drums, without any criticism towards drummer Kris Myers by the way. Although difficult to describe this album track by track I will give it a try. The opening Plunger has a somewhat heavy and nice groove, but is also quite complex and resembles early Spock's Beard. Especially the interlude with acoustic guitars might have been inspired by The Light. Next track Uncommon is more of a rocking type, but the funny lyrics and the overall changes in tempo make it still extraordinary. Jajunk, part 1 is a bit hard rocking, sometimes a bit like Rush, but also some influences by Gentle Giant can be heard as for the complexity, certainly when suddenly a more jazzier approach is taking over followed by a few close harmonies. A mixture of Steely Dan, the two voices, and Saga, the guitar, can be heard in Days. Jajunk, part 2 provides more fascinating rhythms and the first synth solo alternated by a lovely instrumental rock piece featuring the guitar. Walletworth starts with a groovy bass guitar loop and an organ, then a roaring electric guitar and a duel between two of the four vocalists UM has. The title track contains blues rock with a touch of Steely Dan. Again UM makes it very clear that they're able to play anything. The wizardry of Frank Zappa comes to mind when listening to this album. A latin feel can be recognized in In The Kitchen, while the chorus is more in the vein of pop rock. Some joyful country music in Bullhood City featuring vocals that resemble Emmylou Harris, acoustic guitars and nice vocal harmonies. Perhaps the most genuine progressive track is the instrumental Miss Tinkle's Overture with every now and then a sound in the vein of The Dixie Dregs. A blink of an eye to Kraftwerk in Robot World but the real drums and heavy guitars differ of course. Mulche's Odyssey contains a mixture of Spock's Beard and Dixie Dregs, but also a blues rock part. A distant brass sound characterizes Wife Soup, melodic symphonic rock with a Steely Dan feel. The last track is a nice quiet song featuring acoustic guitar.
According to the band they have been inspired by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, Yes and early Genesis. Although it's a kind of a weird mixture this album appeals to me and my conclusion is: can I have some more?