Despite entering its third decade of experience, the Dave Matthews Band isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. With a recently announced tour hitting Dallas’ Dos Equis Pavilion on May 20 and a new album slated for release just a day earlier, the ever-divisive band seems poised for a big 2023.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of Dave Matthews enjoyment, whether that’s full-on disdain for their college-friendly concert jam sessions and undeniable “dad rock” vibe or unabashed love for their confidently unique style, you have to respect that work ethic and output at this stage in their career.
The same should be true for “Madman’s Eye’s.” The band’s latest single, off the aforementioned upcoming “Walk Around the Moon,” feels almost custom-built to generate a divisive response when you stop to think about it. With a distinctively Middle Eastern influence and darker intonations closer to “Don’t Drink the Water” than “Crash into Me,” the song admirably takes a risky new direction without sacrificing the DNA that’s made DMB a success.
Led by the signature rasp of Matthews himself, with a chorus that maybe strains his vocals an octave or two too high, the song has a rolling groove that’s befitting of its debut live in concert all the way back in 2021. It’s not hard to imagine the band extending the more than 4-minute song into something double that runtime in concert.
The driving string arrangement alone is enough to fuel an extended number in your head, not quite reaching the immediate catchiness of “Ants Marching” but perhaps landing somewhere in the parking lot approaching the same ballpark. It’s that Middle Eastern influence that creates the slinking earworm of a riff, something you’ll be humming for days to come.
Carter Beauford’s drumming is similarly commendable, holding the stuffed song together while simultaneously adding much needed flourishes like an explosive drum fill near the number’s conclusion.
Really, if it wasn’t for that somewhat painfully high-pitched chorus, “Madman’s Eyes” would borderline on essential material for the band. For those diehards who are more accustomed to Matthews’ intonations, it very well might be already.
Either way, if this is the kind of material the band is bringing in decade three, fans and skeptics alike should be prepared for many more years of Dave Matthews.
Spotlight Score: 8/10