The commercial success of Four was a mixed blessing for Blues Traveler. It did give them a wider audience, but it also put them in the delicate position of pleasing their new, hook-happy fans while retaining their hardcore, jam-oriented cult following. They skillfully manage to do just that on Straight on Till Morning, the bluesy, ambitious follow-up to Four. On the whole, Straight on Till Morning is a tougher album than any of its predecessors, boasting a gritty sound and several full-on jams. But the key to the album is its length and its sprawling collection of songs, which find Blues Traveler trying anything from country-rock to jangling pop/rock. They manage to be simultaneously succinct and eclectic, and they occasionally throw in a good pop hook or two. Blues Traveler are still too loose to be a true pop/rock band, and John Popper would still benefit from a sense of meter, but Straight on Till Morning is the first studio record that captures the essence of the band.