Goo Goo Dolls
As always, the veteran, Buffalo-based pop-rock band is a well-oiled positivity machine that finds the silver lining in adversity: “Every breath's a moment, every moment is a chance to live again,” sings frontman John Rzeznik on the soaring “Souls in the Machine.” However, Boxes adds unexpected flourishes to the Goos' usual strident acoustic rhythms and chiming electric guitars. The minimal, piano-brightened “Flood” prominently features Echosmith's Sydney Sierota, who meshes perfectly with Rzeznik, while the Jack's Mannequin-reminiscent “The Pin” boasts subtle, sighing background harmonies and an aggressive, roller coaster of a chorus melody. Plus, bassist Robby Takac chimes in with a couple fine songs of his own, with the earnest, rough-hewn anthem “Free Of Me” as the highlight.
In terms of songcraft, Goo Goo Dolls are a model of consistency: Few bands have amassed a catalog with so many solid, well-written tunes. And while not everything is successful on Boxes—for example, the midtempo, electronic-burnished “Lucky One” tries too hard to sound modern—every song has seamless arrangements and a distinctive approach. Plus, it's almost impossible to be cynical in the face of comforting lyrics such as “Don't be afraid, darling—I know you'll always be brave.”