Better Than Ezra

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Rightly suspecting that the days of grunge and alt-rock were finished in the late '90s, Better Than Ezra wisely decided to revamp their trademark post-grunge sound for their third album, How Does Your Garden Grow? That they chose to revamp in the most predictable way -- mainly electronica and trip-hop, but with a touch of space rock and Brit-pop on the side -- may mean they're not innovators, but it does suggest that they are canny cultural watchers, and they turn out to be as adept in fusing all these elements together as they were in blending jangle pop and grunge. That may mean that Garden doesn't have the thrill of discovery anywhere in its grooves, but it's nevertheless well crafted and smartly performed. It also happens to boast the best set of songs that Kevin Griffin and company have yet written, even if there are a couple of tracks that sink under the weight of their own ambitions. Still, the new ambition in the music (even if it isn't adventurous) and the catchier, more emotional songwriting is enough to elevate How Does Your Garden Grow? to the status of Better Than Ezra's best album.

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