July 28, 2015
THE GRIP WEEDS - HOW I WON THE WAR
This is a particularly poignant record in the great catalog of albums from Psyche-Pop rockers The Grip Weeds. It brings things full circle somewhat as the band originally took their name from a character (Musketeer Gripweed) played by John Lennon in the 1967 film from which this album also gains its moniker. Whilst that cinematic endeavour proved to be somewhat lacklustre, this ‘concept’ record more than lives up to its lofty title. Full of The Grip Weeds’ trademark vitality, swagger and psychedelic verve, this is an enigmatic and eclectic record. The songs are an endearingly motley bunch, as stylistically varied as they are thematically linked, making this album paradoxically the most defiantly cohesive yet diverse the band has yet produced. There are traces of Pink Floyd in the knowingly disjointed title track, echoes of Bowie on the fantastic Life Saver, and the snarl of the Ramones on Rise Up. Elsewhere the band create layers of vocal harmonies that would have CSNY drooling, yet their spiky and trippy delivery is more reminiscent of The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield, and at times their muscular confidence is more akin to The Doors or The Who in their heyday. The influence of the fab four (and Lennon in particular) is also omnipresent throughout, yet it is a testament to how great this band is that they wear all these musical touchstones lightly and effortlessly, with real joy and class. Somehow this is a band who have managed to emulate and honour their musical heroes in such a unique way that has allowed them to cultivate that ever so elusive phenomenon; a ‘sound’. After only one listen of this record this sonic manifesto couldn’t be any clearer or better defined, in addition to being immensely enjoyable, there’s no mistaking this band for any other.