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Album Review

Grails – “Chalice Hymnal” – [Temporary Residence Limited]

Naysayer   3/5/2018   12-inch, A Library

Last summer we were visiting our friends in Cloverdale. It was god awful hot so they decided to take us down the road to the Russian River for a swim to cool down. After trekking across the riverbed rocks, we got to a place in the river that was shallow enough for us to set our beach chairs and just sit with the current gliding over us. It was not really my idea of pretty: it was hot, brownish, dry with plants a sort of dusty green. But when I finally settled into it I began to appreciate the calm, serenity and turmoil of this oddly idyllic spot with the cool water pushing around us. I often remember this place even though it may not have been my idea of a place to go.
I feel this way about “Chalice Hymnal”, Grails first album in six years. It’s not what I might have expected but when I let it settle in, it works. It is a lush four sided continued exploration into the sounds they have developed over their career. Cinematic is definitely the phrase for these pieces. Each piece of psych rock post-rock is like a soundtrack to a series of short films, not clearly related but surprisingly united. Guitars and electronics play heavy with bass and drums, plus mellotron weaving dreamy explorations on some tracks while others perform a more beat driven journey. Most of the shorter tracks left me wanting for more. The longer tracks filled my need for meditative wandering. Like the river experience, not necessarily where I wanted to go but definitely something I keep remembering after several listens.

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