Grouse - Heads - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Grouse - Heads

by Rich Morris Rating:5 Release Date:2013-01-07

This second album from Dublin-based musician/producer Ronan Carroll follows seven years after his debut We Want to be Loved. I'm not sure what he's been doing in the meantime, but there's no doubt that Heads sounds pretty dated, recalling a mid-90s glut of chilled out, new age-y, polite trip hop sounds. Opening track 'Interval', for example, revolves around a moody guitar riff, atmospheric sound effects and some unimpressively cheap-sounding drum loops. The whole thing practically screams 'bedroom producer trying to be DJ Shadow'.

However, things improve. A few tracks, most notably 'Telegraph' and 'Finally', have a lovely effervescence and lightness of touch to them. The album's strongest track is 'Grand Gestures', on which Carroll finally summons an attention-grabbing, innovative rhythm track which he counterpoints with a mournful violin and some proggy, portentous synth-work. It's a step away from the pale imitations of 20-year-old electronica he deals in elsewhere and towards a sound that's genuinely Carroll's own.

Ultimately, the music here isn't too bad, but it's at times desperately let down by poor production values and the sense that some of it was made in a 'this'll do' weed fug. If your mate had made this for his own amusement, you'd think it was amazing. As a professionally released record, it's decidedly lacking.

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