While no one will ever mistake Guster for some sort of artfully challenging prog-rock band, they've certainly made a lot of progress in twenty years of music making. Originating from humble beginnings as a dorm room folk trio at Tufts University, Guster's early output is dominated a bit by that myopic college culture of bongos and puka shell necklaces. Thankfully, Guster has spent the last decade growing more confident and distancing themselves from the "soundtrack to hackey-sack sessions" vibe of their earlier recordings to gracefully evolve into a consistent, powerful pop force. On record, Guster creates a giant, expansive kaleidoscope of incredibly layered, immediately accessible, well-adjusted pop full of Pet Sounds-y harmonies that plays directly to the heartstrings without pandering or unnecessary brooding. With Good Old War. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Tue., Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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