California Chronicle

by Jon Dawson
New album: Strange Change Machine
Artist: The Grip Weeds
5 stars out of 5
Rainbow Quartz Records

The fifth Grip Weeds album is a doozy — a 24-song, double-CD that encompasses psychedelia, garage rock, folk and even a hint of progressive rock.

If a lesser band had attempted to cook with this many ingredients, the results could have been disastrous on a Jay Leno at 10 p.m. level, but “Strange Change Machine” is the work of a band that has harnessed its diverse talents and delivered a fresh take on what those in the know call rock and roll.

The great beauty of “Strange Change Machine” is that at no time will the listener feel the urge to skip anything, as it plays like a movie with the kind of plot that keeps your attention. The album busts open with the cinematic “Speed of Life,” a pummeling rocker that showcases the band’s dynamic musical interplay and its world-famous harmony vocals, and the hits just keep on coming with the slamming “Don’t You Believe It,” the sublime “Mistress Forest,” the emotional “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be the Same” and even an improved take on the Todd Rundgren classic “Hello It’s Me.”

Long time fans of the band will be pleased to know that on “Strange Change Machine,” the Grip Weeds members have perfected their classic sound while at the same time heading off into uncharted musical territory. Whether it’s the chugging Manchester-beat of “Mr. X,” the Spanish-tinged “Twister” or the improvisational “Sun Raga,” the Weeds have wisely utilized the double-album format to refine their strengths and discover a few new ones along the way.

For more information on The Grip Weeds, visit