Furious rock with melody and emotional pull
Michael C. Bennett | Chicago, IL United States | 12/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Catchy and kick-butt is always a great combo, and Grand Champeen are awash in great hooks, big guitars and the right blend of sloppy and tight playing to make for a record that must be a close second to seeing them live. The reference points start up north -- the basic approach here is very comparable to The Replacements and Soul Asylum, before both bands cleaned up their act. Which means that there's a punk foundation, mixed in with some 8-track savvy, as traces of Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith and even Lynyrd Skynyrd come through. But not in some self-conscious way -- when they kind of boogie-riff on "The Rest of the Night", it's not due to some ironic 21st Century take on boogie rock -- it feels good and they play it in a way that in doesn't sound cheesy. But it's not all dumb fun. There is some skilled songwriting here that allows for some really heartrending melodies amidst the fun and the fury. This talent comes through in spades on "Memory Loss" which flies like a runaway train in the verses, before using a cute countrified melody in the chorus that utterly contrasts the explosiveness. The chorus is the musical equivalent of the realization that the protagonist is coming to. The song even has a second, less frenzied movement. It takes you places. "Step Into My Heart" is flat out pretty, a terrific change of pace ballad which is enhanced by Channing Lewis's affecting lead vocal, which is absent the sore throated sound he sometimes achieves on the barn burners. They split the difference on "Paid Vacation", which sounds like a collaboration between Superchunk and the late, great Mega City Four -- i.e., it's awesome. They close on a great note. "Fakin' It" is smokin' melancholy, with one of those melodies that evokes just a little bit of sadness. It sounds great as the rhythm sections pounds away and the guitars snake, tangle and pierce. One of the best pure rock records of the year."
This CD f'n rocks
Michael C. Bennett | 10/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album is great. I foubd it on their website which I cant post here but you can probably figure it out. hint: starts with G ends with N. I got it upon hearing their first album after seeing their kick ass live show at The Mercury lounge in NYC. It rocks start to finsh. The songs span a spectrum of influences but always stick to their middle america indie-fied roots. you hear 1980's punk, 1940's country, and 1970's rock all strewn together for a unique contemporary sound. buy it now. They are at CMJ in NYC this month go see them!!!"