PRESS - GIANT ON THE BEACH

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Magnet
1/04/05

GRIP WEEDS
GIANT ON THE BEACH


When it comes to retro outfits, there's always the urge to lapse into namedropping. With the fourth album from the Grip Weeds, this temptation is all the stronger, primarily because the sounds the New Jersey quartet emulates are so deeply embedded in a rock listener's DNA. Throw the dart anywhere and you're bound to hit an icon: The dreamy vibe, phased guitars and gossamer harmonies of "Telescope" conjure Notorious-era Byrds, while the Who's "I Can See For Miles" has a worthy successor in "Midnight Sun." Pretty solid selling points. Just the same, the Weeds' less obvious qualities are what really count here. They display an uncommon ability to hotwire your emotions at the merest hint of backward guitar or the telltale "tssskkk" of a maraca during a chorus. With a knack for unleashing simultaneously tingly and white-knuckled riffs and weaving together vocal harmonies as if they'd grown up together singing in a church choir, the Grip Weeds have a palpable group chemistry that so many bands boast of but so few actually possess. Given the retro scene's diminshing returns of late, they sound downright heroic. -Fred Mills