2006 marks the Goo Goo Dolls' 20th year of existence and with their newest release, Let Love In, their trademark tendency for substance over style dominates; the result underlies the band's continuing mission to imbue their music with depth and soul. However, with a back catalogue of memorable hits like "Iris" and "Name", Let Love In initially seems on a first play to fall short of expectation, but as is usual with the Buffalo troika, patience is a virtue, and multiple spins in the CD player are required to fully appreciate this new batch of material.
In the four years since Gutterflower, an album reverberating from front-man John Rzeznick's divorce, Let Love In indicates significant changes in the band's fortunes, most notably gaining ubiquitous producing luminary Glen Ballard, who co-authors some of the album's shining lights. "Stay With You" evokes the yearning strains of "Black Balloon" and "Here Is Gone", but imparts hope rather than regret. "Better Days" is typical Dolls: anthemic, resonant, tender and earnest, yet avoiding designer sentiment. "Give A Little Bit", an ode to 70's rockers, Supertramp, is a pleasant rendition that lifts up the spirits.
Rounding out the proceedings, "Can't Let It Go" and "Without You Here" mesmerise and Robby Takac makes his usual off-kilter contributions, with "Listen" and "Strange Love" eliciting a more thoughtful take on the world than in previous efforts. While the band have moved on from the heavier rock arrangements of A Boy Named Goo and Superstar Carwash, their spirit is still felt, albeit tempered by 20 years' experience. As Rzeznick professes in "Better Days", Let Love In seems to present the Goo's fans with a new beginning: "So take these words/And sing out loud/'Cause tonight's the night/The world begins again."
Writer: Steve Bromby