ARTIST:

GRUMBLEWOOD

(NEW ZEALAND)
TITLE:

STORIES OF STRANGERS

(2020)
LABEL:

AUTRE LABEL

GENRE:

ROCK

TAGS:
Acoustic, Celtic, Folk, Intimist, Jazzy, Low vocals, Melancholic
"With "Stories of Strangers", Grumblewood appears as a New Zealand progressive folk rock band still too close to its references."
ADRIANSTORK (22.02.2021)  
2/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has often been ignored in favor of Auckland, Rotorua or Christchurch. However, this means forgetting the benefits of the Windy City, where the country's child Peter Jackson often set up his camera (in the trendy "Brain Dead" or "Lord Of The Rings"). Among other things to be discovered, there is Grumblewood. The group formed in 2016 took advantage of the global standstill to take the plunge and release its first album "Stories Of Strangers".

Grumblewood knows how to be delicate. While the young modern bands like to "metalize" progressive rock, New Zealanders prefer to go back to its roots, more folk like Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span or Jethro Tull. It is this last group that Grumblewood seems to take as an example. 'Songs From The Wood'' must be without a doubt the band's bedside record. The flute twirls like Ian Anderson's, minus the eccentricity inherited from Roland Kirk. The progressive rock of the New Zealanders is sometimes adventurous. One admires the various dénouements of 'My Fair Lady' culminating in the appearance of a female voice that can be heard through the breaking waves (would the group have paid us a discreet tribute?). The guitars are well put forward, the bass is cavernous ('Fives And Nines'). Sometimes, it is a mandolin which comes to appear ('Picturesque Postcard', 'Stories Of Strangers').

However, even if the listening, in addition to being pleasant, makes us want to commune as close as possible to nature, the band's music is not very exciting or surprising. If Grumblewood often finds a good riff, the song ends up coming back to the starting point and becoming repetitive ('The Sheriff Rides'), despite a few attempts to escape. Certainly despite some strong references ('Castaways' or the title 'The Minstrel' which sometimes borrows from Dave Brubeck), we can not accuse the band of plagiarizing Jethro Tull, but it does not upset any convention. The other main grievance of this album concerns the voice of Gav Bromfield. It is harsh, severe, lacking warmth (with the possible exception of 'Picturesque Postcard' and 'Stories Of Strangers'). It's as if the singer doesn't really want to be behind the mike and is forced to perform a task for which he doesn't have the organ to shine. This perhaps explains the contribution of female vocals, which is unfortunately too discreet.

Let's not be too severe with Grumblewood and its "Stories of Strangers". For a first album, the band is still stuck in the web of its references and lacks charisma, but a handful of titles and a few sparks of magic allow the band to show some potential.


More informations on https://www.facebook.com/grumblewood/



SIMILAR BANDS:
JETHRO TULL, STRAWBS, GRYPHON


TRACK LISTING:
01. My Fair Lady - 7:30
02. Picturesque Postcard - 4:42
03. Castaways - 5:17
04. Fives & Nines - 4:35
05. The Sheriff Rides - 6:02
06. Ex Memoriam - 3:07
07. The Minstrel - 8:00
08. Stories of Strangers - 5:27

LINEUP:
Gav Bromfield: Chant / Guitares / Flûte, Piano
Morgan Jones: Basse / Clavecin, Choeurs
Phil Aldridge: Batterie / Percussions, Choeurs
Salvatore Richichi: Guitares / Mandoline, Banjo, Clavecin, Choeurs
   
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