Friday, January 1, 2010

Grooms- Rejoicer

        First post: why not start with something recent, and something local. Brooklyn-based trio Grooms released their first full-length, Rejoicer, on Death by Audio this past October (okay, kind of recent), and its ten tracks sing with fuzzy, noisy goodness, letting the ugly sounds haunt, with the occasional moment of clarifying accidental beauty shinning through the murk in a way highly reminiscent of Sonic Youth in their prime. Out of tune guitars? Check. Atmosphere, and drive? Check. Alright, let’s get down to this.

The album opens with the off-kilter “Dreamsucker”, sporting grungy high-register bass, and a guitar which could pass for a natural disaster. When they’re not drowning in a wave of feedback, the three Brooklynites keep up the tension with dissonant interplay which desperately tries to achieve some sort of resolution, only to be forced back into swirling chaos. “At the Pool” plays like a hangover, featuring what sounds like a lazy cello, and the violent headache drumming one might associate with waking up to bright lights. Singer Travis Johnson practically begs the words,“I wanna be/ I wanna be”, before being crushed under a couple tons of molten guitar noise. The entire first half of Rejoicer is a noise-rock fan’s wet dream. It’s not too heavy-handed, but there’s still substance, and they maintain an acid-washed air about them, while creating songs with force. However, the conviction starts to wear down towards the bottom half of Rejoicer. They don’t get “into it” so much as “out there”. Points for experimenting with their sound, but the last five tracks, while listenable, essentially miss the mark.

All told, it might seem that is record is retracing familiar territory, and to some degree it is, but Grooms aren’t just another band who are content to wallow in the wake of noise rock without adding a little more danger to it. Despite the spontaneous feel, there is always the assurance that these compositions are fully intentional, and birthed by musicians with intimate knowledge of their craft. Combining the aforementioned influence of Sonic Youth with intricate interplay and burnout vocals, Rejoicer is a record which showcases the potential of a young band.


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