Grimble Grumble: Leaves Leader (Pehr, 2004)
Grimble Grumble are a Chicago based band that have been around for about 10 years, that is, with an apparent 7 year hiatus in there somewhere. Leaves Leader marks the return of this dreamy dream-pop band. Christine Garcia’s vocals will haunt you and her solid bass work will wow you; Josh Hudson and Saleem Dhamee’s jangly, sparkly, and blissed out guitars will thrill you; and Mike Bulington’s percussion is solid. This band has put together a solid set musicians and song writing to boot! This is spacerock at its best.
Leaves Leader begins with an untitled track that is very brief and simple places you in a tunnel of sound and forest noises. It really ushers the listener into the world of Grimble Grumble and peaks the listener’s curiosity right away. This leads to “Rail road,” which begins with glimmering guitar and beautiful bass touches. Christine’s vocals float on seas of guitar picking and bass lines. This melts into a bridge full of jangly guitars and walls of percussion and bass. “Casanova” begins with a psychedelic feel of fuzzy, swirling guitars and heavy percussion. Grimble Grumble find a hypnotic tune and they really take it to the extreme, altering it here and there and giving it new life the second you think it dead. This song actually loses all its instruments at one point and the bass takes the rest of the band into a bounding session. It really creates tension in the midst of their floating, ethereal sound. This eventual stops and it returns to the previous melody and floating vox that bursts into fuzzed out walls of sound.
“Wish Song” begins with some interesting bass that seems to be playing the melody. This is eventually followed by glittering guitars and plodding percussion. This has Christine’s beautiful, angelic vocals riding on top of the music as the plodding tempo eventually gets more complex and walls of guitars are brought into the mix. This turns into a dream-pop sort of jam-session ala Pink Floyd. This finally winds down into backwards noises that fade out. “Third Song” begins with a quiet hum and then the entrance of the bass. There is a nice, textured ambient sound in this song, while fuzzed out guitar plays in your right ear. Christine’s vocals are more pronounced in the mix on this song and her voice is still beautiful and angelic. This gives way to heavier percussion and the guitars getting loud. The wall of sound builds and builds as the tempo increases. Again, there is another switch to a more rock tone with trembling guitars wailing in the background. The hum of the guitar fades out and leads the listener in “Intro.”
“Intro” is another psychedelic piece that swirls around with guitar and beating bass. The percussion is heavy on the tinny snare and the guitars vibrate, cry, and swirl around. This is a brief, instrumental piece, but it is oh so good. “Fall” starts with acoustic guitar vibrating over drones with variations in the guitars. I really like the feelings and tensions this band brings with their guitar work: very subtle, big, and highly effective. The bass and drums eventually come in and really fill out the sound. Again, there is a heavy Floyd influence, but in a very positive way. It’s as if Slowdive and Floyd got in a room and wrote a collaborative piece. “Emma Sleeping Blues” finished out the disc. This begins with quiet guitar picking and some slow, steady percussion. This song starts with a beautiful melody and it goes on for sometime before walls of sound come in with subtle bass work. This almost bluesy piece meets shoegaze is a six-minute instrumental that really flows nicely.
Grimble Grumble are back and packing a wall of sound. Space rock is certainly alive and kicking in the windy-city and all should check out Leaves Leader as soon as possible.