Now ten albums into his solo music career, Guy Grogan has dropped, just the at close of 2016, Glitter In The Gears… and interesting melange of musical influence and taste. Likening his sound to a mirror, Grogan is relatively unsure about just how his music is taken: “Knowing what you sound like is kind of like looking into the mirror…you see yourself, but don’t have a real sense of what you look like to the rest of the world.”
Opening the album is a sort of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers vibe (if Petty and the boys were more into punk rock). The melody, and high harmonies so closely relate, whereas the instrumental overdrive pushes out a bit more of an agitated Rick Springfield run. Certainly an interesting mix to kick off an album with.
Moving right through a list of musical influences, ever trying to suss out just what’s in that mirror image, one finds an equally whiny, but somewhat more musical Neil Young, with a bit of country-meets-pop-ballad going on. The incredibly spacey vocals towards the end of the track is a very interesting touch, to say the least. One wonders what the significance is, for sure, making the song all the more curious.
Continuing on the musical mashup, a sort of CKY riff hits out, with just as creepy harmonies, and heavy-hitting. Even down to the simplicity of the guitar solo, this track emulates that CKY vibe quite intensely. Vocally, there’s a sort of less adept Billy Corgan, but the presence is certainly there.
A very pretty song in ‘House of the Leaving’, but one wishes there wasn’t so much of a thorough mumble of the lyrics. One wonders if perhaps this is the truth of Guy Grogan: such a hauntingly beautiful tune, so vulnerable that the lyrics are one long muffle of insecurity. If only there was much surer clarity about this track; it would be the greatest song of the album.
And then the musical journey of influence continues with another Petty-like track, heavy laden with the so-called Indie genre: all of that ethereal, airy, spaced quality that is so signature of the style.
Then follows an interestingly jazz-like little ballad, with constant brushes that sound like a plastic bag is being constantly rustled throughout the track (which I’ve now ruined for listeners, as you will not be able to un-hear that notion). However, if one can zone out the white noise of the plastic bag rustle, the standard is wonderfully added to with some soulful harmonies (and the best part of the track is thankfully devoid of the bag rustling brush work), and a sweet guitar solo. It seems to this journalist that Grogan’s best, and seemingly truest, work is found in ballad form.
The rest of the genre-bending of this musical chameleon can be sought out by the would-be listeners reading this review. Something might just surprise you. Grogan’s honesty is refreshing in the music industry when he says: “It’s what the Beatles did so well from mid-career on… their work was so wide-ranging. Their records covered miles and miles of musical terrain. I’m not nearly as adept, but it’s a very inspirational model and one that I think will keep me busy for as many years as I have as a songwriter and musician.” What this lowly journalist thinks is that Grogan must find his own sound within each of the genres present in this, his tenth album. It is a difficult thing to write, track, and record one’s own music, and find one’s own vibe within genres that have been so famously conquered by such influential musicians already.
Do give this melange of musical taste a listen. It is more than worth it, even to play the “influence-guessing game”, but also to hear the unique work of Guy Grogan. Head on over HERE to check out Glitter In The Gears.
P.S. – There’s a place ‘Where All The Hearts Go‘, and (but for the lacking clarity) it’s perhaps my favourite place on the album. Bravo.