Thursday, 5 August 2010

Album Review: Grooving In Green, 'Post Traumatic Stress'.

By nature I don't write reviews.
They're often carried out by journalists who have a couple of decades of musical knowledge behind them either as a fan or a failed musician (you can usually tell which type by the amount of negativity & pickiness you read in the review).
Besides that I tend to ramble off on a tangent.
I know it doesn't sound like one, but when you're presented with the opportunity to give a constructive opinion on an album by a band consisting of a bunch people you already got to know well, consider mates AND you're a fan of their music, it's a sodding tricky job.
'POST TRAUMATIC STRESS' is the forthcoming album by Grooving In Green. It follows the release of two EP's, 'Ascent' and 'Dirt', selected tracks from which are included in this album. At just 10 tracks and a tickle over 35 minutes long it's seems almost too short, but when I think back to some of the stuff I've bought in the past that ran well into the 65-70 minute arena, I also remember skipping through the odd track regarding them as 'fillers'. I'm pleased to report that if this album lacks anything other than length, it's fillers. No prog-rock episodes, no pointless remix versions of album tracks at the end, nothing like that. Just ten songs with a reason to be there.
The golden fingers of Steven Carey (Eden House/Adoration) are all over the production & recording yet at the same time, held back enough to display the band's capabilities in the manner which they deserve. Production is glossy yet aggresive; Tron's vitriolic delivery is well balanced against Simon Manning & Pete Finnemore's wall of guitars and the pace of the tracks throughout the album is kept relentlessly constant, driving and soulful. Only one track, 'Some Kind Of Saviour' relaxes the pace a little, but even then it swiftly attacks at its chorus, backs off for the second verse to allow you to breathe only to get a run-up for another ambush...
Apparently Steven Carey's guitar & Tony Petitt's bass make a guest appearance in the album, but I was hard pushed to tell even though I knew already. Any guest efforts are made to build the songs here; not to feature, and that's a good thing in my books. Simon delivers some tasty bass alongside his guitar duties. The brief is uncomplicated playing with justified flourishes here and there to give the songs foundation.
As I mentioned before, selected tracks from their previous EP's make an appearance here; 'Premonition' and 'Dirt'. They bear only a slight resemblance to their previous incarnations after they've been put through the 'Gok Wan' treament of sleek production, double-tracked vocal takes and mystically enhanced guitars. In comparison, the EP's only gave you a rudimentary taste of what was to come much later from the now expanded, enhanced and steroid-fed creatures they are now.
I tried putting the whole album on 'shuffle' on my iPod after the second run-through to see if the playlist would bear rearranging. Most of the songs still flowed from one track to the other well, which is a rare occurrence. Try it yourself with an album of your choice and you might see what I mean.
'Post Traumatic Stress' is a finished product; a tight album with all the right noises you'd expect to hear from them. Guitars are the weapons here; minimal keyboard work is used throughout because it's a rock album; a 'Top Gear' CD for the darkly inclined.
I haven't seen the finished cover art yet as I was sent the album via email but I'd put money on the physical CD version looking as sexy as it sounds. Maybe they should release a limited edition CD version that comes with a housebrick to hit yourself in the face with at the start of each track, because frankly, I can't think of any other way of improving it.
Much has already been said time and time over about their origins (2/3rds Children On Stun, 1/3 Solemn Novena, blah, blah, etc.).
I personally think it's time to start referring to them as a band in their own right, justifiably resurrecting the good elements of '80's & '90's gothic rock. They've grown hairs in all the right places & stopped using as many Stun tracks to build their live sets.
Ladies and Gentlemen; Grooving In Green are open for business. Please obtain your copy of 'Post Traumatic Stress' the millisecond it's released.

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