Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Grass Is Green Take a Turn Toward Epic on "Chibimoon"

It is no secret that Grass Is Green’s debut album Yeddo was one of our absolute favorite albums of 2010. The band emerged onto the vibrant Boston music scene with explosive calculated energy and consistently jaw dropping live shows, separating themselves from the pack with a collision of complexity and a raw looseness that is rarely seen but increasingly welcome. The quartet manages to combine elements that are traditionally opposites, doing so with a furious technicality that never seems to take itself too seriously. In March, they released their sophomore album Chibimoon, just a mere six months after the arrival of their debut. The development mapped out within the album’s seven tracks takes Grass Is Green in unexpected directions; ever so slightly moving away from Yeddo’s punk immediacy into an epic enormity that reveals itself only after repeat listens. Burning, ripping, and generally grooving through twenty six minutes of disjointed brilliance, Grass Is Green have once again delivered an abrasive blast of limitless creativity. Chibimoon takes a slightly more direct approach in its attack, though unexpected twists and dynamic shifts are always near.

“Slow Machine” is prime example of the more epic nature exuded throughout Chibimoon, the lead track roars through stop start rhythms, anthemic vocals, and winding guitars that explode from sharp math rock riffs to a full on storm of blissful experimentation. The song contorts as an enormous slow churned riff aggressively soars and the band’s ever elastic tempos begin to shift with a controlled sense of recklessness. “Boat Show” arrives with an easy going rhythmic groove and relatively soothing guitars that showcase singer/vocalist Andy Chervenak’s vocals and oft-humorous lyrics. The discordant melody whirs around during the hooks, filled with expansive progressions, delayed guitar manipulation, and intricate rhythmic moves that retain a smoky jazz meets punk quality throughout. The sunny vibes continue on “Cooter County,” possibly the band’s closest attempt at a pop song, though we are still talking about Grass Is Green. Drummer extraordinaire Jesse Weiss provides vocal harmony amidst his stop-and-go rhythms slick enough to break your neck rocking out to. Chervenak sings “I spend my days drifting in between a bright eyed and bushy tailed little kid and a war machine,” a sentiment that pertains much to Grass Is Green’s music itself, at times bouncing with innocence though quick to demolish all in its path.

Title track “Chibimoon” opens with a twinkling guitar groove that fades into the mix without disappearing. Devin McKnight’s distorted washes of guitar noise fill the empty spaces with nuance and quick harmonic blasts to accompany the deep and impossibly dense bass line. “Tongue in Cheek” grinds back into aggressive mode, as Weiss’ chaotic rhythm unapologetically tramples forward and takes complete control. This is Grass Is Green at their finest, contracting and expanding on a dime with sheer post-punk fury. Chervenak’s vocals are scathing and catchy, and the entire band erupts into a mid-song crescendo before traversing into exploratory jazz and back into the songs abrasive verses. “Twinkle Toes,” a sultry ballad (yes, that’s right) shimmers with bluesy guitars and a slight twang that resides just beneath the angular riffs. The vocals sound tremendous as they soar toward the higher registers, and McKnight’s delay manipulation builds a massive yet all too brief wall of sound with added keyboards from the album’s producer/engineer Michael John Thomas III. “Dark Horse,” the riotous closer, thrashes about in every direction as the entire band slams together with a display of their signature loose mangled technicality. Shouted vocals and pummeling drum beats give way to corrosive guitars that lead into a full blown twitchy sonic stampede. The song’s frantic nature takes an unexpected turn into a gloriously jagged finale that may just leave you wondering what just happened. Go ahead… listen again.

Grass Is Green extends the range of their repertoire on Chibimoon, proving there is nothing they can’t do. If Yeddo was love at first sight, Chibimoon is the meaningful relationship that takes time, eventually you're going to realize just how wonderful it is. Still an incredibly young band, the future is theirs, and Grass Is Green aren’t the type of band to sit idly by and wait for their break. The guys have been touring consistently for the better part of the last year, and audiences all around the country are getting their chance to witness the mayhem first hand. Experiencing Grass Is Green live is a truly special event, the type of show that will have you rethinking all you thought you knew about rock music… and they’re only getting better.

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