March 4, 1999
THE GRIPWEEDS The Sound Is In You
(Buy Or Die Compact Discs 1998)
Somewhere between the Smithereens and Monster Magnet is where The Grip Weeds should settle in the course of great New Jersey rock bands. Working, writing, and recording from the House Of Vibes, the quartet's Highland Park headquarters, the band has released a sure gem to the scene, The Sound Is In You, a beautiful blend of power-pop rhythms, sweet melodies, and to-die-for Beatlesque harmonies.
No doubt the group's influence is cool sixties and seventies stuff, but the brothers Reil, Kurt and Rick, the Grip Weeds' originators, have used this to their advantage in writing some truly fresh tunes. Guitarist Kristin Pinell offers delicious melodies, ferocious leads, and splashes of sitar. Bassist Michael Mattboy, the newest member of the band, provides a stellar groove in the lower-range frequencies.
A follow-up to The House Of Vibes, the Weeds' 1994 debut CD, The Sound Is In You sets its snare with happy hooks, gratifying grunge, and just the right blend of under-production production -- and recorded in an analog eight-track recording studio, just like Sgt. Pepper! The CD contains 16 cuts, including a cover of Neil Young's "Down To The Wire."
Dive right into the second cut -- track one is one-minute psychedelic Intro - "In Waking Dreams" for a real mind blow. The guitars are not of this world, powerful and heady. But to get a real idea of what the Grip Weeds are all about, click to track 16, "Inca." This is how rock songs should be written.
"Ready And Waiting," demonstrates the Grip Weeds harmonic abilities and skillful musicianship. "Morning Rain," a Kurt Reil composition, is Revolver meets the Who's Sellout material. For those two-chord aficionados, Every Minute screams "quit your day job and pick up that guitar."
The Grip Weeds are just as adapt in writing, mellower, philosophical numbers as well. "A Piece Of My Own," "Tomorrow," and "What I Believe Is You" are perfect examples. "What I Believe Is You" can easily be the Beatles jazzed up with some wicked wah-wah interludes and questioning lyrics: Can I trust the voice in my mind/The look in your eyes so familiar/Should I heed the strain in my heart/Or is there some way to know better.
Kristin Pinell adds some super cool vocals to "Down To The Wire," as well as some super-fine guitar work. The boys lend a hand with some back-up vocals.
Two of the most commercial-sounding cuts are "Strange Bird" and "What's In Your Mind," but the Grip Weeds stay true to their form and commitment to simply good music. This can't be more eloquently said than the title of their CD: The Sound Is In You.