All Music Guide
January 21, 2000

by Stanton Swihart
The Grip Weeds: The Sound Is In You (4 1/2 out of 5 Stars)

The Grip Weeds showed on their debut album that they were a powerhouse pop-psyche band extraordinaire who write insanely gripping melodic nuggets, and they multiply that gift on their followup. Making musical analogies is an overused descriptive technique, but it also happens to be the only way to initially approach The Sound Is In You. You can hear many of the band's influences in the music: glorious, beautifully-ominous Byrds harmonies here, the aggressive crunch of early Who there (the ultra-melodic "Every Minute"). In addition to those timeless-and-true echoes, the album contains a much-publicized similarity to the Smithereens--only logical considering Kurt Reil also fronts the Buzzed Megs, the side band of Smithereens guitarist Jim Babjak and drummer Dennis Diken--although the Grip Weeds replace angst with a swirl of psychedelia. Bits of peer bands such as Olivia Tremor Control and Sloan also pop up on occasion, but those are all superficial comparisons because, ultimately, there is a certain depth and something uniquely yearning inherent in the Grip Weeds' music that sets it apart from any power-pop that has come before or after. With a relentless instrumental attack propelled by Kurt Reil's explosive drumming and Kristin Pinell's psyche guitar stylings, the album is a thrilling listen from beginning to end. Written entirely be the Reil brothers--with the exception of a cover of the Neil Young song, "Down to the Wire, " from his Buffalo Springfield days, sung by Pinell--both individually and together, each song on the album is a certified winner. Only occasionally can the band be slightly overpowered by their influences. It is impossible to listen to "Strange Bird" without thinking it would have nestled perfectly somewhere on Mr. Tambourine Man. Still, it is a fabulous song, a spot-on-tribute, and is further evidence of the band's abundant musical and songwriting abilities. With their second album, the Grip Weeds reached the pinnacle of the '90s pop-rock curve.