Monday, May 19, 2008

The Grip Weeds - House Of Vibes Revisited - 1994


On its first full-length, the Grip Weeds immediately cut a wild swath to the front of the nineties pop line with its vibrant pop, partly because it eschewed the giddiness that many bands falsely take from Sixties pop, instead infusing its plucky melodies with Eastern-psyche progressions and mysterious-sounding modal harmonies. Put simply, a Grip Weeds song is so distinctive and unique that it obliterates most pop pretenders, retro-mongers, and fetishists, showing them for what they are: copyists working according to genre rather than inspiration. And there is plenty of inspiration on House of Vibes, plenty of odd vocal touches and indefatigable playing, and the Reil brothers seem to have mastered the art of two- and three-part harmony. The normal shorthand would probably go something like this: the band plays Byrds-by-way-of-the Who ("Out of Today," "Realize," "Haunted," others) or Who-by-way-of-the Byrds ("someone, " particularly, and Kurt Reil's propulsive drumming throughout), while occasionally displaying the mellow country lope of Buffalo Springfield on "Salad Days" and "Realize," filtering them all through Middle Eastern melodies, psych-styled guitar, and an uncommon spiritual yearning. And those touchstones would seemingly place them firmly in the backward-looking notion of Sixties pop synthesizers and hopeless retroists. But it simply is not so, and that sort of cynicism is mislead anyway. The Grip Weeds progress from various musical precedents just as Sixties pop acts were progressing from the wellspring of early rock & roll (though the divergences were much more pronounced then because there were far fewer sources). And like those Sixties band, the Grip Weeds do not wear their influences on their sleeve, they have absorbed them, and have used them to create melodies so good that they seem to have always existed. Both Reil brothers display tremendous songwriting skills, and bassist Mick Hargrave raises the number of strong songwriters in the band to three. And the music, rather than sounding either trendy or antiquated, shows aspirations that reach beyond simple commercial success. If there is one way in which House of Vibes does harken back, it is this: the music recalls a era when a pop song had the capacity to change the way the world looked, the way you look at the world. That is a quality too often missing in any music. -AMG

If you like "House Of Vibes Revisited" get it here!
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9 comments:

Gyro1966 said...

thanks- i have the original cd that i bought from the band after a gig. i was looking for the new improved version, thanks again!

vex_voxtone said...

THANX for the great blog and all your sharings ... keep up the excellent work and you have my full support ;)

Curty Ray said...

Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

Ha -- I was just listening to this in the car today. I do prefer The Sound Is In You, but there's some great stuff on here.

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I'm from Madrid, Spain.
Your blog is really fantastic. Great musical taste and very good band's selection.
The Grip Weeds is one of my favourite bands. I've all their recordings except "The Summer Of A Thousand Years". I'm looking for it from a long time ago.
Maybe you could help me?
Thanks for your sharing work.

Anonymous said...

Hi Curty ray,
thanks to post the deluxe edition of this excellent album, I had the original cd but this is better.
juan

Dean said...

Thanks for this. A very good band ;-)

Radio Free Wohlman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Radio Free Wohlman said...

Hi Curty,

I came late to the Grip Weeds parade can you please re-up House of Vibes Revisited and Summer Of A Thousand Years?

They have a new one due soon!

Thanks,

RFW

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