Grails - Deep Politics - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Grails - Deep Politics

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2011-03-14

It's been a couple of years since Grails last full length LP, the critically acclaimed Doomsdayer's Holiday, although they did treat us to various reissues last year and the Black Tar Prophecies Vol.IV EP. For those that were suitably impressed by the mighty Doomsdayer's Holiday, however, the arrival of Deep Politics couldn't come soon enough. Thankfully, the album doesn't disappoint.

Grails make expansive, deeply atmospheric and technically accomplished post-rock, or should that be prog-rock? With Deep Politics, Grails have made an innovative, refreshingly contemporary and frequently mind-expanding record while also occasionally recalling the more traditional styling's of prog-rock titans like Pink Floyd. Ultimately, Grails make the kind of music which can't be easily categorised; in fact, it flat out refuses to be boxed in. Keep yr assumptions to one side; Deep Politics is a fantastic record and one that's more than willing to throw a few musical curve balls your way.

The gargantuan 'Future Primitive' drifts steadily into view, gradually building the tension with an impressive array of instruments and sounds. Stunning violins, eastern sounding acoustics, creepy electronics, kraut-rock rhythms and epic, Floyd-ian guitars. 'All the Colors of the Dark', starts with a creepy, slightly jazz-esque piano before turning into something more akin to the beautiful, cinematic sounds of Ennio Morricone, in particular his much lauded spaghetti western soundtracks.

It's a beautifully textured album, every piece rich in atmospherics with an impressive attention to detail. The title track is a languidly beautiful piano piece replete with a soaring and unexpectedly lush sounding string section. Other highpoints include the epic 'Almost Grew My Hair'. The track starts with galloping acoustics and echoed voices before it develops into a kind of Morricone western but set in space. It's the sound of rock music being played on the moon. Cool.

'I Led Three Lives' combines celestial electronics and creeping static with an almost Mogwai-esque sense for the dramatic. If there's one thing Grails couldn't be accused of it's understatement. I'm perhaps mentioning Morricone's spaghetti western music a tad too much, as Grails rarely sound exactly like Morricone's distinctive scores. Yet it's Morricone's unmistakable flair for the dramatic which inhabits Deep Politics. There's plenty to absorb here. Final piece 'Deep Snow' starts acoustically before coming on like Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' crossed with a Pink Floyd style wig out.

While some ideas clearly work better than others - the only partly realised electronics/panpipes venture that is 'Corridors of Power' never quite takes off - on the whole Deep Politics is a rather impressive record. As Grails don't really fit neatly into any particular genre, it's not immediately obvious who their contemporaries are. Suffice to say if you enjoy the unique, often intense, sounds of Earth, Portishead, Mogwai and Teeth of the Sea, appreciate the sheer audacity of Pink Floyds biggest tracks and have a soft spot for dramatic cult film scores, then Grails could be just what you're looking for...

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