Album: Counting Crows, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings (Geffen)

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The Independent Culture

It probably sounded good on paper, but Counting Crows' vinyl-vintage idea of splitting this album into separate sides – reflecting, respectively, the hurly-burly of a night of drunken self-obliteration, and the next day's hungover ruminations – has rather rebounded on them here.

The first half isn't too bad, with "1492" opening the album with the urgent drive of Document-era REM, Adam Duritz spinning a frantic narrative of Columbian discovery that typically leads to "The silence that surrounds us and which drowns us in the end". But it transpires that "1492" is a leftover song from 2002's Hard Candy, and as the band reinvent first Nirvana's "Teen Spirit" wheel with "Hanging Tree", and then The Black Crowes' frazzled blues-rock wheel with "Los Angeles", it looks increasingly as if they've run out of ideas.

But it's the second half that really sinks one's spirits, as Duritz's self-absorption is exposed by flimsier, largely acoustic arrangements. "On a Tuesday in Amsterdam Long Ago" is most unbearably representative of the album, a ghastly wallow in self-pity that not even Adam's mum should be forced to hear.

Watch the video for Counting Crows' track '1492'.

Pick of the album: '1492', 'Los Angeles'