Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: Grace Basement "Gunmetal Gray"

Grace Basement from St. Louis is back with their sophomore effort, "Gunmetal Gray". Voted "Best New Band" by The Riverfront Times in 2007, bandleader Kevin Buckley is hopeful that his latest will take off like a shot from a gun.

Kevin Buckley is not only the guitarist, singer and songwriter behind Grace Basement, he happens to be a world-class Irish fiddler. He brings this novel element into his pop rock songs, creating a fresh and interesting dynamic. Building on this theme, he's also recruited several noted guests from St. Louis' rock, folk and Irish music scenes (including his father Jack, who plays the Uilleann pipes). So you'll also hear some gentle horns, accordion, harp, and more peppered throughout "Gunmetal Gray". Lyrically, Buckley thoughtfully explores themes of separation, loneliness, and finding meaning.

"Gunmetal Gray" has lots of ammo packed right up front with instantly catchy cuts like "There He Goes" (my favorite on the disc, by the way), "Tilly Lingers", the soothingly sweet ballad "Back On The Moon", and the rockin' "Bad Design". These are hard acts to follow; consequently, the latter half of the CD seemed to struggle in matching this precedent. However, I really enjoyed the acoustic driven ballad "Highway" and the quiet, steady build of "Golden Bell" towards the end.

Grace Basement walks the line between melancholy and upbeat pop, with an occasional sidestep into the baroque. Recommended if you like Guided by Voices, Waterboys, or Flaming Lips.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

Grace Basement on MySpace. Official site.

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