Grand Island’s debut, 2006’s Say no to sin, was nothing less than a summer storm of a record, or a mountain dam cracking open perhaps. After its release we wrote thus of the band and the music:
Amiss are norms, order and respect for expectations. Loath of narrative logic, temperance and a structure of recognition, Grand Island’s dual pair of brothers -with an unrelated fifth member constituting the genetic freak- pour into the cauldron of their music frantic banjos, jungle beats and primal veils, blood-line precision, crystal-meth energy and general hysteria.
The songs are not symmetrical and rounded entities, nay, they are more reminiscent of the path of a drugged, or inbred, mind, leaping ever-on never back. They are complex, fragmented and most of all frantic sequences of music. Like caustic soda and milk, the true mountain dew, Grand Island is not something to hold on to: you must go along and pick up the speed as it gathers, and then, when the chorus sets in, everything lifts like a vast flock of birds.
The choruses tend to be catchy beyond imagination (“sin-song, sin-along” as they aptly put it themselves) and constitute some kind of recurring comment on the madness, or a promise: “there is always a party near for those who dare!”
Now a new album is about to be launched and the first reviews of Boys and Brutes (out April 7th) are already in. It is clear that the critics’ love for this band has not waned, even if the drugs perhaps have worn off a little. This is not meant in a negative sense though, for the conclusion seems to be that the music is more focused, and that Boys and Brutes comes across as rather more solid and condensed than the “here-there and everywhere” of the debut. The musical expression is more clearly within the rock segment; some of the bluegrass lunacy and instrumentation has been replaced by more sombre veins. There is more focus on melody, the tunes are more spacious and clear cut, yet the album is still sparkly, eclectic, and with awesome instrumental precision. In short, it is very much Grand Island, but with a further dimension.
Three major tours, reads Grand Island’s log of 2006 and 2007. -And endless miles on Norwegian roads. All the playing has aged the band, in the way of having learnt the art of restriction. This is what the boys (or brutes) say themselves, commenting on the time that has elapsed since the debut and the making of the new record.
-On the first record we were very conscious of being debutants; we wanted to make a point out of saying and doing everything at the same time. Now we have better grasp and control of our musical energy. And we have more confidence, which means we can to let a pretty melody be just that and allow it some space.
After the release concert in Oslo on April 11th, followed by some select gigs in Norway, Grand Island head out on a forth European venture from May 17th to 27th: Germany most of all, with stop-overs in the Low Countries.
Grand Island on Myspace: sd
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