Lots of bands grab some vintage gear, cheap beer and let their hair down these
days, hoping to be the next big old thing. Retro is a somewhat safer bet for
finding an audience in a narrowing rock market than, say, commercial radio
rock (whatever that even is anymore). That said, for all the sort of hangers
on trying to have a moment in the hipster, indie or stoner rock scenes, there
are some really good bands who blow those charlatans away through real
devotion and sincerity. Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass are way up near the front
of the pack in terms of bands with a throwback feel who will make you cheer
rather than feel blue (yeah, that was a Blue Cheer pun).
We love this band and you truly should as well.
Sophomore record Coming Back Again will keep you doing just that, a treat of a
first record for Listenable Records to follow up the band’s acclaimed actual
Svart records debut. The sunnier 70′s vibes are intact but with a newer
exploration of sort of proggier, bluesy Cream-like tendencies that work
marvelously with the bands already established aesthetic. Think the brighter
moments of Wino’s old Hidden Hand act without the heavier grumbling and a
looser, jammier proto metal feel with some funky tendencies and you are
getting on track.
You can tell on this sophomore album that the band have been gigging a lot.
They sound very dialed in, almost effortlessly unified. The last record was
already terrific so it is exciting to hear them expand on it. There are only
six songs but it almost feels the perfect length and “Down The Line” clocks in
at 9 minutes plus, so it isn’t like you are getting ripped off.
Even the shortest track is a keeper, anyway. 2:37 “Hazy Daybreak” has major
Led Zep 3 vibes going on, sort of ethereal and floaty like a breeze rustling
said golden grass. Beautiful acoustic intricate guitar work with what sound
like drum mallets, some light percussion/cymbal wash and ambient noises.
The Golden Grass have played psych fests in my neck of the woods (Kingston,
NY) but could just as well have fit on that recent Graveyard/Spiders tour or
alongside Electric Citizen opening for the not as good Wolfmother.
Heck, Id’ve taken any of those bands opening for Sabbath’s last tour instead
of Five Finger Douche Punch aping the worst of nu metal’s testosterone
tendencies from the Ozzfest heyday instead of the early, groundbreaking
Anyway, let’s stay positive. This record deals with uptight people, modern
world problems and not wanting to be “last in line” (not a Dio cop). The band
opt for an earthy return and preach often to not let darkness get to you. If
the sunnier lyrics don’t sway you the music will, or at least the hips of a
bonafide honey near you.
“Shadow Traveler” stands out. It’s certainly not “new”, just real rock. “Don’t
want to repeat myself/that’s something I wont do”. Well, the music does recall
past classic motifs so is repeating in a way, but the band are always
searching. Their playing sounds retro but truly not to their detriment. Still,
you only be so original can be when mining familiar terrain of past.
Nonetheless, the record is warm and great, a far better purchase than most of
the stuff out so far in 2016 or many a recent year. The much needed positive
vibes would also do a better job making America great again than a certain you
“Down The Line” is the most Sabbathian, albeit if the band stayed in a magical
meadow instead of following those tolling bells or Satan’s laughter. Some nice
wah sounding stuff on this tune and alternating high and very low vocals. The
band are really adept at making you keep listening through the sheer joy they
seem to have in playing these cool ass parts. I have yet to hear a GG song where that doesn’t come
through and heck, isn’t that what music used to be about?
“See It Through” closes us out with some trickier drumming before a hot summer
night low down groove coasts in. The band have mastered their Deep Purple
influences big time on this record (maybe opening for them recently helped)
and do a great job taking it right to the heaviest point of blues and boogie
without getting too metal or doomy.
The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich, drummer/vocalist
Adam Kriney and newcomer bassist/vocalist Frank Caira deliver bright tones, a
James Gang sense of possibility and fun. Heck, there’s even one spot that
sounds like Paul Butterfield stopped by to hang out.
Can’t go wrong with this one, cuz it’s all about feelin’ right.