The String Cheese Incident is a band that sounds like what would happen if Phish, Béla Fleck and The Flecktones, and Return to Forever all got together and just jammed. The band steadily released both studio and live albums from 1997-2005, but Song In My Head is their first album in 9 years. The String Cheese Incident shows a lot of bluegrass influence, but they also have a lot of jazz fusion sound. They use instruments like electric pianos and guitars to give the bluegrass sound a very progressive feel. With Song In My Head, The String Cheese Incident bring some enjoyable music to the table, but not so enjoyable that I’d wanna go back and listen to it again any time in the foreseeable future.
There is a lot of varying style on this record; the first track, “Colorado Bluebird Sky” is very traditional sounding bluegrass, while some songs like “Rosie” are straight jazz fusion. The instrumentation on this album is usually quite good and fun to listen to, but this interesting sound is usually blended with some less than stellar vocals and lyrics. For example, the annoying experience of having a song in your head is dryly and unnecessarily documented in the title track, “Song In My Head”. The repeated line “I’ve got a song in my head (goin round and round)” is echoed back and forth far too many times, and it makes this song really not fun to listen to.
Despite some annoying tracks like this here and there, the album is mostly made up of feel-good jams that aren’t bad at all, though they might not be too musically spectacular. “Betray the Dark” and “Let’s Go Outside” both have catchy melodies and some jam-worthy keyboard and guitar solos. At 55 minutes, the album gets a little tedious and some of the 6+ minute songs could definitely be cut down a bit, but overall it’s a decent listening experience. If you like bluegrass, jazz fusion, or jam bands and somehow haven’t heard of The String Cheese Incident yet, I recommend checking them out.
Favorite tracks: “Rosie”, “Betray the Dark”, “Let’s Go Outside”
RIYL: Phish, Béla Fleck, Return to Forever
Reviewed By: Alex McCullough