Greg Maechling, from the So Cal psych/surf-rock scene has come out with one hell of a change in pace with his new EP Answer to Influence, under the guise of Greg and the Granules. This six track EP is a sort of country-folk, meets alternative piece, which takes a huge departure from Maechling’s previous work.
The breathy, and ethereal quality of the vocals could do with a bit more push in the mix, ultimately, but such hustle seems to be the manner of mixing these days, however unfortunate that fact may be. There are interesting elements of both Bowie, and Blunt, ‘All At Once‘ in this work: quirky lines, and clever instrumental placements, coupled with some high-pitched rasp really takes this EP off the ground and into the clouds (especially with that church organ).
‘Somebody Else‘ might not do this sort of music, whatever genre one chooses to call it, quite as much justice as Greg and the Granules. Even the stuttering pulses of lyrical expression really dish out some James Blunt, but too upbeat is the composition (however sullen the song), for Blunt to pull off such a piece.
There are ‘No Words‘ for the heavy 90′s influence that hangs in the mix with an ever present distortion, waiting for some sort of sorrowful solo. If only there was greater pull from 90′s alt-rock when lyrics could be, by and large, understood.
The very eclectic tastes of Greg are very evident when a ‘Midway Offer‘ is made, in the form of a very brief, and ultimately creepy carnival tune. Unsure of just what the offer is made during this song, but suffice it to say that nothing seemingly good comes of it.
The ‘Big Reveal‘ however is made when Greg and the Granules go back to that psych/surf element that brings happy harmonies, and the ukulele to bare in a fun beach tune of redemption (in some way, shape, or form). Keeping true to the psych side of the genre, Greg delivers a trippingly sweet solo that really does put the final touch on the throwback to his musical past.
Oh Greg, if ‘I Knew You When‘ you started mixing this EP, I might have suggested giving us listeners more of your voice. It is soft and sweet and seemingly swell overall, but hidden in effects, and ultimately buried in the composition (save for those thankful pauses in the music), one loses what could be the true effect of what may very well be a wonderful voice.
Greg says the album “floats with ease through myriad layers of resonating expression to create a transporting experience of calmness and comfort for the listener.” There is certainly a calming effect in the listening of this EP…perhaps with an uncomfortable obsession with vocal clarity in the mind of this journalist, but otherwise a comforting quality as well. For those who want to space out, and contemplate those deep mysteries of the world…One isn’t suggesting the need to be a space-case to listen to this EP, but suffice it to say that it will certainly mellow out the audience in a way that might be enhanced otherwise…
To give the album a listen and/or purchase, head on over HERE.