The new album is out (well, technically it's out on May 1st) and I have been listening to it over and over and over again. So far this album is exactly where I hoped the band would go in all aspects. The songs are all medium length, medium tempo, but that doesn't indicate the variety of sounds and textures. The acoustic guitar is very prominent, possibly due to the satisfaction they had from playing the acoustic sets during the last few tours. The influence of "Feedback" seems to have bled into this album somewhat as they have looked back towards their influences in the instrumentation and production.
One great change from their last album "Vapor Trails" is the production. This album, in a word, is sonically HUGE. The mixes are pristine and the separation of the instruments is perfect. I find myself torn between just rocking out to the songs as opposed to listening to the mix. Having experimented with recording, I know enough to realize that just taking different instruments and maybe adjusting volume and pan won't get you anything near a good mix. There's an art to taking a certain instrument tone and laying it into the mix so that is distinct, yet doesn't overpower the other instruments and vocalist. The producer, Nick Raskulinecz, who has also produced Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver and other great bands just did a fantastic job on this album. He has a short interview, where he discusses the new album.
We have to wait to get concert tickets since I'm not sure where we will be this summer. Suffice to say, we will go, oh yes, we will.