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Umphrey's McGee are a veteran act steeped in prog musicianship, metal power and genre-jumping inventiveness that thinks in terms of album-length statements – in other words, a novelty act in 2014. All those elements are in play on their eighth LP, which is full of knotty Rush/King Crimson/Police-style textures and Eighties hard-rock thrust. They even try some tuneful jam-pop with the Phish-meets-Hall-and-Oates of "No Diablo." "There's no need to overthink this through," Brendan Bayliss sings on "Educated Guess," a slipstream sprawl of classical strings, drum-clinic rhythmic precision and hydra-headed guitar insanity. It's some of the zestiest overthinking you'll hear all year.

From The Archives Issue 1212: July 3, 2014