No Guts, No Glory

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No Guts, No Glory Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Originally planned as an acoustic album, the 11th moe. album No Guts, No Glory experienced a transformation during the recording process with Dave Aron. A producer best known for hip-hop, Aron didn't move the jam band in that direction but he encouraged moe. to do what they do best: to play with themselves. This is a group where interplay trumps all, which sometimes means they ride a groove, sometimes they lay back and solo, sometimes they cluster around a microphone and harmonize, sometimes they just enjoy the ruckus they cause. All of this can be heard on No Guts, No Glory, as can the album's acoustic roots; many of the songs begin with an acoustic intro -- or something spare enough to suggest an acoustic intro, like the bluegrass "Do or Die," which is on electrics but surely feels like it originated on a back porch -- and then build into something else, something a bit more full-blooded. This nimbleness, along with little bits of color like the sly marimba on "Calyphornya," is why No Guts, No Glory can seem simultaneously fresh and familiar. moe. aren't explicitly pioneering into new territory but they're digging deep into their surroundings, still finding something to explore within themselves.

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