Leaving the Blue marks a bit of a departure for the melodic, pop/rock Better Days, as the band seizes upon the opportunity here to reach beyond their signature dream pop compositions to approximate a slightly harder edge. Though still graceful and reflective in most places ("Romeo," "Invisible"), the guitar thrust is generally heavier and more ambitious than anything the band has attempted before. In fact, this little EP sports some notable guest stars, namely the Counting Crows' David Bryson playing acoustic guitar and lending his mixing talents (Train). Additionally, Andrew Hollander (Counting Crows, David Johansen) co-produced and Robert I. Smith (David Bowie, Rickie Lee Jones) engineered. These stellar contributions result in a prevailing '80s pop/rock feel, shaped by guitar and percussion-driven orchestrations ("High and Low," "All Around Me"). Even the gentle and preachy track "Invisible" spotlights spiraling riffs toward its conclusion. By delivering easy, upbeat grooves and good-vibe lyrics, Leaving the Blue gives off the intentional impression that the punk and grunge movements never happened at all.
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AllMusic Review by Roxanne Blanford