Grooms - Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Grooms - Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2015-04-19

Anyone who thinks the golden age of indie-rock is dead need only to listen to Brooklyn-based Grooms' Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair to realize it was just resting. This album is full of softly strained vocals and jangling guitars, a refined interpretation of the now-venerable indie milieu. Half the tracks would fit comfortably on a Built to Spill album, though the rest are more varied in their composition, sounding a bit more psych-rock and even bringing to mind some of The Doors' work.

Songs like 'Doctor M' and 'Bed Version' are perfect examples of the first group. Uptempo and driving, with semi-spoken verses and ghostly choruses, they tick all the boxes, with vocalist Travis Johnson doing his best Doug Martsch impersonation in the former. The title track, with nice drum fills and carefully plucked guitar notes, strikes a satisfyingly defiant tone, as Johnson declares, "I go where I want to, and I drink what I want to".

Other songs do the same basic thing, but don't quite fit together into a complete whole, such as 'Later a Dream', which has strong and purposeful verses filled with solid guitar work, but which stumbles during its unfocused choruses. The best track on the album, 'Savage Seminar', is fun, groovy, and nostalgic, with a rock-solid hook. It brings to mind lazy afternoon lovemaking, the promise of youth, and a wide open world waiting to be conquered. The song's only fault is its criminally short length, clocking in at slightly more than two minutes.

On the flip side, the album veers into moments of electronic oddity, such as the intro and bridge to 'Grenadine Scene From Inside', a song that alternates between melancholy verses and a slightly off-kilter chorus, all swimming in a sea of endlessly strumming guitars and pattering drums. 'Foster Sister' is infused with an electronic backbone, and slides into a shimmering, jangling finish. 'Something Wild' is a moody piece backed by an organ, and this time, Johnson sounds just like Swell's David Freel. The aforementioned 'Doctor M' also closes out with almost two minutes of glittering, stringy synths and long, echoing guitar licks.

Overall, any longtime fan of indie-rock will be in heaven with this album. The sound borrows much from its forerunners, and doesn't blaze any new trails, but it's good at what it does. This would have been required listening for any hipster 15 years ago, which means it's just in time for the rest of us.

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