By Garth Paulson

As a rule I generally don’t agree with masses of screaming near-hysterical people. Granted, they were right about the Beatles, but the same thing can’t be said about Vanilla Ice, Milli Vanilli, the New Kids on the Block or the much-maligned Backstreet Boys. The screaming masses, albeit on a lesser scale, might be onto something with Guster though.

On Ice, a live CD/DVD, is chocked full of audience-mania threatening to overwhelm the musicians. Guster keeps things just under the boiling point, though, using the crowd to their maximum effect. This results in an above-average live album, allowing the listener to actually get a fair idea of the true live experience.

On their 2003 release Keep it Together Guster adopted several more instruments than their usual acoustic guitars and bongos from their first three albums, significantly thickening the texture of their songs while maintaining their signature organic sound.

About half the songs from On Ice were in Keep it Together and they are also the album’s strongest. “Red Oyster Cult” sounds like a Neutral Milk Hotel song that actually makes sense, while the rendition of their hit “Careful” is sure to have even the most cynical listener singing along after a few listens.

The DVD portion of the album features fairly standard concert footage of the same songs on the CD, annoyingly interrupted by clips of the band rehearsing, along with a couple videos, short documentaries and a few jokes.

Like most live albums On Ice is intended mainly for hardcore fans but can be enjoyed by casual fans as well.