November 10, 2004
The Grip Weeds
Giant On The Beach
When power-pop is truly ace, it becomes difficult to describe; you compare it to all the usual touchstones (Cheap Trick, the Raspberries, Badfinger) and use a list of standard euphemisms (sickly sweet harmonies, crunchy guitars, soaring melodies) to paint a picture of the sound. Much like its three predecessors, Giant on the Beach is power-pop par excellence -- a brightly hued barrage of classic '60s songwriting twists, spiked with arena-scraping '70s riffs and more than a few nods to the Fab Four. The Grip Weeds might have been Superdrag or the Posies in a past life; like those bands, they channel a fearless energy that translates into blistering verses and utterly devastating hooks. The whiplash psychedelic swirl of "Astral Man" and "Midnight Sun" is balanced by "I Believe"'s dusty, Byrdsian country balladry.
The Grip Weeds aren't the type of band that makes drastic changes to their sound -- that's both the defining facet and inevitable downfall of steadfastly "retro" acts. That said, the problem then is one of perception. If you're not absolutely infatuated with sparkling power- and classic pop, the Grip Weeds' polished, paisley-pelted oeuvre won't send you over the moon on gossamer wings...or do much for any other part of you bod`y.
-- Jason Jackowiak