Guide To Better Living


Grudge / Universal Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


One could ask this question about music these days: With so much mixing of different bands' styles, is any original music still being created today?

Without a second's hesitation, I'd answer "yes" - but I'd also add that not all merges of styles and flavors mean that creative expression is sacrificed. Take Australia's Grinspoon, for example. Their American debut effort my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Guide To Better Living takes the best parts of bands like Tool and Korn, but builds on those blocks to make a sound all their own.

The band - Phil Jamieson, Pat Davern, Joe Hansen and Kristian Hopes - kind of sound like Silverchair on a three-day bender. Their mixture of angst and anger, sprinkled on beds of rock with a serious crunch to it (all the time staying melodic) is surprisingly refreshing. With a name like Grinspoon, you almost don't know what to expect - and that's the whole beauty of the surprise.

Sure, there are a few moments that highlight ideas that leave you scratching your head, wondering what the hell that meant ("Dead Cat X 3"), but for the most part, the energy and the musicianship behind the tunes on Guide To Better Living kicks things into overdrive. Tracks like "PostEnebriatedAnxiety," "Railrider," "NBT" and "Black Friday" all show Grinspoon as a band to be seriously dealt with in the very near future.

But what about the other band references I made earlier, you may be asking? Grinspoon takes the vocal delivery of Korn (without the hip-hop style that band has made famous) and the musical Texas two-step of Tool and grinds them together into a funky alternative beat that has yet to be equalled in the music industry. Copy-cat syndrome? Nope, just a good combination of influences.

There is still some room to grow musically for Grinspoon, but their strengths are what are well in the forefront on Guide To Better Living - something many other new bands fail to achieve. If this album is any indication of what this four-piece is capable of, then you can guarantee that we'll be hearing a lot more from them - and about them - very soon.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Grudge / Universal Records, and is used for informational purposes only.