Rusted Root's self-titled album is truly a tale of two sounds. The album wavers between hypnotic tribal grooves like "My Love" and hooky pop songs like the clapalong "Rising Sun." This dichotomy of styles keeps the listener off-balance and unsure of what is to come. The powerful rhythmic percussion, which is the heart of the band's sound, doesn't truly appear until the eighth track, "Agbadza." This song is a feast for the Root faithful who thrive on the band's drumming intricacies and jam-band appeal. Liz Berlin, who complements Mike Glabicki's lead vocals on a number of tracks, finally gets her due singing the lead on "Moon." Berlin's strong vocal performance adds another level of diversity to the album. However, these moments are too far and few between to satisfy the cult following that Rusted Root have gained through years of touring. Many of the songs deliver the feel of a Glabicki solo project rather than a collaborative effort. The one true gem that brings together the Glabicki-driven pop and the tribal groove is the cover of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Hot Tuna lends a hand to breathe new life into this classic and ends the album on a strong note.
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AllMusic Review by Erik Crawford