Burning off Impurities
Despite the limitations of the term (and its decided tendency to annoy musicians) The Grails can quite fairly be described as post-rock. This is an expertly produced instrumental album by a quartet of extremely talented musicians whose inspirations are as omnivorous as their range of capabilities. The production, in fact, speaks to their post-rock lineage, the clever variance from ringing crystalline arpeggios to dense fuzzy walls of multi-instrumental drone being due in part to the stylings of the legendary producer of Faust – Steven Wray Lobdell.
The Faustian debt can be heard here alongside a mash-up of unabashed influences - including Led Zepplin, Yes and a host of traditional eastern instrumentalists. The standout aura is of being immersed in the atmospheric soundtrack of a moody modern spaghetti western, in which sitars blend smoothly with slide guitar and percussion that veers from sparse Suicide-esque synth and drums on “More Extinction” to more standard rock clatter-and-fill on tracks like “Origin-ing.” An album like this could easily veer into the realm of Putamayo world-music corniness and ethnic-sound appropriation, but manages to stay the course due mostly to the totality of its lovely moodiness and the obvious loving care taken with its broad range of influences. Perfect summer-night chill out on the porch sounds.