Sunday, August 31, 2014

Album Review - The Griswolds / Be Impressive

On Twitter, I have never been one of those, "Follow me and I will follow you back" type of accounts.  I follow those I like.  Period. It is mainly bands, record companies, and other bloggers and writers.  There are so many unknown bands out there that will follow you just for a follow back.  Either that or they are just looking for you to check them out.  Often enough, if you do not follow them back within a couple of days they will unfollow you.  In some cases they will do that even if you do follow them.

The Griswolds changed that for me.

I had never heard of the Griswolds.  It wasn't the fact that their Twitter cover photo boasted the release of their debut album on Wind-up Records.  It was who was following them.  Their followers included the local Philadelphia Alternative Radio Station, Radio 104.5, The Firefly Festival, and also Rivers Cuomo of Weezer.  It sounded impressive enough to at least check them out.

I did a quick Google search and read their accolades.  I was intrigued that they described themselves a "Tequila-Inspired Party Pop".  Wow.  That could be either pretty good...or REALLY bad.  But then they listed their influences as MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Kanye West, and The Beach Boys.  Hmmm...alright...this has promise.  Then they posted that their album was #6 on the iTunes chart.  Ok, I was in.  Let's hear it.

The first track was '16 Years'. I kind of felt that this 4 piece Aussie band fit the whole modern pop mold behind Bastille and their ilk.  But it was catchy. I kept listening.  'Right on Track' was a little more of the same but I was definitely digging the drums. It was similar yet somehow different. 

Next was 'Beware the Dog'.  From the first note I thought this could be Vampire Weekend.  They were channeling that sound.  That was until the drums and guitars kicked in.

Suddenly I was on a beach.  Sand under my feet, sun in my face, and some exotic drink in my hand.  My head was bobbing from side to side.  This was what I was hoping for.  It was if Passion Pit and Friendly Fires and a teenage kid that was out of control.

'If You Wanna Stay' carried on where 'Beware The Dog' Left off.

I was dancing in my seat.  I was finding myself just getting lost in the music for the moment.  And that my friends is magical.  This wasn't deep.  It wasn't the Beatles.  It wasn't life changing.  It was just good.  And fun.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The title track 'Be Impressive' was a mix of Smooth Pop with F-Bombs and Avril Lavigne-like chanting.  From there the album slowed down a little bit.  By design.  They build you up, they bring you down.  They were as masterful as setting a mellow feel as they were the party feel.  I could almost feel that post party mellowness.  Wondering what had happened the night before.  'Thread the Needle' got a couple plays in a row. As did the Caribbean infused Aurora Borealis.

When it was all said and done, and all 11 tracks had played, I hit play again.   I wanted it on in the background.  I went about my day just listening and enjoying.  When I was done I went back to Twitter and followed them back.  Let's hope they keep following me.

See you when the needle drops!


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