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Bucketfull Of Brains (UK) (Summer 2010, Issue #75)

The Grip Weeds
Strange Change Machine
Rainbow Quartz

Not many bands have the moxie…not many bands have the songs…not many bands have the studio…to enable them to record and release a double-CD, but The Grip Weeds possess all of that and more, as they have long been exemplars of that psychedelic pop sound fans of the genre have come to know and love. Strange Change Machine was recorded, as all of The Grip Weeds albums have been, at their home studio, The House Of Vibes. Also, as always, Strange Change Machine is filled to the brim (and in this case, the ‘brim’ is a whopping 24 songs!), with The Grip Weeds patented sound, which is somewhat akin to The Byrds meets The Jefferson Airplane meets The Move, with enough Grip Weeds signatures to make it a style all their own.

Disc one of the album explodes off the CD player (or the turntable, if you happen to get the vinyl version) with ‘Speed Of Life’, immediately boasting songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kurt Reil’s rather amazing drum fills. Other standout tracks on this disc include the appropriately interstellar ‘Close To The Sun’, the beautiful jangle of ‘Be Here Now,’ the phase laden title track, the acoustic power pop (not a misnomer) of ‘Twister,’ and ‘Mistress Forest,’ which is sung and written by guitarist/flautist Kristin Pinell, and is a lovely folk-song that recalls the sounds of The Peanut Butter Conspiracy and The Vejtables!

The next disc has more of that signature ‘Weeds sound, but here is where guitarist/songwriter Rick Reil particularly shines, and also throws us a few curves on the perfectly sweet ‘Used To Play,’ the It’s A Beautiful Day inspired instrumental ‘Love In Transition,’ the rather soulful, Rundgren-esque ballad ‘Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be The Same,’ and, appropriately enough, a faithful cover of Rundgren’s ‘Hello It’s Me’. Some of Kurt Reil’s best appears here as well, like ‘Truth Is (Hard To Take)’, and ‘Hold Out For Tomorrow,’ which cloaks Grip Weeds stylings in some rather uncanny Buffalo Springfield-like harmony vocals.

There have been so many double albums which inspire the response ‘if this had only been a single disc’, but Strange Change Machine is not one of them, as all twenty-four tracks ring out with beauty, strength, and glorious psychedelic pop sounds. Enjoy! (www.gripweeds.com)

David Bash