Hearing Aide: String Cheese Incident’s “Song in My Head”

It has been nine years since The String Cheese Incident have released a studio album, and with the spring release of Song in My Head, they put forth their best recording since 2001’s Outside Inside. In this, their 20th year as a band, fans old and new will easily enjoy this perfect album for summer, complete with an island music vibe, catchy lyrics and A+ production via Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads).

String Cheese has an interesting identity as a band. Are they bluegrass? Jamgrass? Jamgrass with an EDM tilt? Something new altogether? Elements of each of these are found within the songs on Song in My Head, none of them overpowering each other, but rather complementing one another and adding to the overall sound of each track. Pulling from the talents of all band members to assemble these tracks, Song in My Head is start to finish a thorough and complete album from a band that has taken time off in recent years, had their respective side-projects (EOTO, Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Emmitt-Nershi Band among them) and now returns stronger than before.

Starting off with “Colorado Bluebird Sky”, the Centennial State may have found a new state anthem amid their Green Rush. An auto-biographical tale from Bill Nershi, the song reflects on a trip out west to see what can be found, and the home he loves and reflects on, with an incredibly upbeat rhythm to kick off the album. “Betray the Dark” takes a shadowy rumba-vibe, while “Let’s Go Outside” puts forth a grinding psychedelic trance with a strong hook, a mark of many SCI numbers, keeping familiarity strong and high. “Song In My Head” is a pure ear worm with a meta-title, whereas happy, upbeat island music can be found in “Can’t Wait Another Day”, which has the feel of the classic “Round the Wheel”, followed by the foot-stompin’ hillbilly rock delivered in “So Far From Home”.

Kyle Hollingsworth’s “Rosie” has a little of everything and is truly a song that can breathe life into a party or set, as it has done so since debuting in 2011; meshing electronica with jamgrass is no small feat and this song is the highlight of their renewed song-writing as a band. A soft landing comes in “Stay Through” but the cap to the album is the powerful “Colliding”, meandering at times but with a punch to it, highlighted by a hypnotic mandolin from Michael Kang. Overall, Song in My Head does not disappoint in the least, consistent and complete from start to finish. Pick up a copy here

Key Tracks: Colorado Bluebird Sky, Song in My Head, Rosie, Colliding

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