February 8, 2008

The Grip Weeds
Summer of a Thousand Years
Rainbow Quartz (RQTZ056)

There's nothing elusive or ambiguous about The Grip Weeds. Truth be told, this New Jersey quartet wears their influences on their collective Sleeve. On Summer Of A Thousand Years, their superb third album, the band takes a stylistic sojourn that links the jangly melodies and wistful refrains of The Byrds to the adrenaline-fueled ferocity of The Who. Though that may seem like an unwieldy combination, given The Grip Weeds' grasp, it's not only possible, but potent as well.

The album opens in vintage form with "Save My Life," a rich, wistful blend of hushed harmonies and churning guitars that sounds like a long-lost gem from the combined pen of The Byrds' Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, and Chris Hillman. "Rainy Day #3" is Bob Dylan-esque in its delivery and in title as well as treatment. The Grip Weeds balance their folk-rock regimen with stormy scenarios; "She Surrounds Me" and "Love's Lost On You" revive the spirit of '65 with an urgency that would have The Who's Keith Moon and his mates roaring their approval.

The Weeds mostly mine the middle ground between the two extremes, fusing various '60s styles to make it all mesh, "Changed" evokes Jefferson Airplane circa Volunteers. The acid-tinged "Life And Love, Times To Come" adds tabla and sitar to create its psychedelic swirl. "She Surrounds You" sound checks bits of The Beatles, while the title track, with its mind-expanding monikor, adds a measure of The Moody Blues.

If that sounds like overload, rest assured there's no cause of concern. Quite to the contrary, The Grip Weeds have the '60s covered.

-- Lee Zimmerman