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The Grip Weeds – ‘Giant On the Beach’ (2004; 2020 reissue)

Initially pressed on the Rainbow Quartz label in 2004, Giant On the Beach marked the fourth full-length studio album from the Grip Weeds. The New Jersey band recently revived the album on their own Ground Up imprint in remixed and restored fashion. Bonus tracks intact, the collection is available on both vinyl and compact disc.

By the time Giant On the Beach hit the bins, the Grip Weeds had reaped the reputation as A-grade psychedelic ambassadors. Well-written and smartly-structured songs, supported by firm and focused chops have always allowed the Grip Weeds to shape their own identity while still pledging allegiance to their forefathers.

Ignited by the zippy whir of a synthesizer, “Astral Man” opens Giant On the Beach with a spacy jolt before unspooling cloudbursts of dazzling harmonies and mighty melodies, resulting in a neon-lit power pop nugget.

“Midnight Sun” is devised of shifting rhythms and fierce instrumental motions, catching the Grip Weeds’ imagination and telepathic rapport in spellbinding splendor. And then, there’s the haunting tremors of “Waiting For a Sign” which stresses the spiritual essence that tends to drive Giant On the Beach, as much of the lyrical content houses a seeker mentality and belief in a world beyond this one.

Further star-studded cuts include the trippy sitar-salted “Infinite Soul,” the beaming beauty of “Closer to Love” and the punchy groove of “Realities.” But every song is truly fantastic, and the album flows with balance and strength.

Pierced with backwards guitars, billowing choruses and colorful patterns, Giant On the Beach combines the kind of sonic experimentation executed by the Beatles on the Rubber Soul and Revolver albums, with the volume and muscle of bands such as the Who, the Move and Nazz. The Grip Weeds have certainly picked some fine footsteps to follow and in doing so, they manage to breathe new life into the music they so dearly cherish.

Giant On the Beach has been out of print for years, so kudos to the Grip Weeds for resurrecting the album while adding a generous dosage of goodies in the process. If you missed Giant On the Beach when it was originally issued, here’s your chance to enjoy these cool and mind-blowing sounds. And those who are already familiar with the album will realize it is ripe for rediscovery.