October 2001

Summer of a Thousand Years
Grip Weeds
Rainbow Quartz

For the Grip Weeds, the band’s mix of everything from classic British invasion Merseybeat and pre-acid R&B to friendly psychedelic English sounds jumps away from the direction it’s sound should logically take and lands the quartet in the neighborhood of bands like The Smithereens and The Plimsouls. It’s not bad company to be in, nor do the Grip Weeds seem to concerned about moving out of the area any time soon.

The reason the Weeds don’t sound like the countless revivalists who dabble in Merseybeat and psychedelia should be obvious after hearing but a few tracks off this album: While the band is as conscious of its musical roots as nearly every other well-schooled indie-pop outfit, there are deliberate steps taken to avoid simply rehashing a classic chapter in pop history. As much as the specters of British rock haunt the Weeds, they’re not playing for audiences from 1967, but for ones from 2001.

That means that there’s plenty of sugar left in the Grip Weeds’ music this time around. The jangly guitar figures and milky bass lines may recall days of pre-MTV alternative rock ("Is it Showing"), while the band turns its attention to heavy-handed rhythms that ’60s songwriters would never turn to ("Love’s Lost on You"), adjustments made to the act’s style to ensure that its music isn’t an instant anachronism. There’s still enough familiarity for listeners to easily feel comfortable with the band, however, as traces of Ray Davies and Revolver-era Beatles are all over this record.

Maybe there is something that’s timeless about ’60s pop: After all, it’s been the foundation for revival after revival after revival, and each time it’s twittered with,it manages to hold onto its roots while adapting its identity to fit in modern times. Maybe it’s just the Grip Weeds’ knack for infusing their songs with a historical perspective. Either way, the band’s got a juicy bunch of tunes on its hands.