May 31, 2008

Grails - Take Refuge In Clean Living

Album: Take Refuge In Clean Living
Year: 2008
Genre:Post - Rock, Experimental, Instrumental
Country:United States

Grails are an American instrumental rock band from Portland, Oregon.The Grails fifth full-length picks up right where Burning Off Impurities left off and goes even further. Their instrumental land of improvised grooves, trance-like drones, Eastern modes and melodies, psychedelic textures, and above all, their very forward moving post-rock music, is unlike Pelican's or Mogwai's; it doesn't resemble Isis' or Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s. The Grails' brand of guitar-centric instrumental music is not given to simply building crescendos. Instead, it is interested in exploring the outer reaches of groove, space, and texture. It seems to be focused on how much they can pack into a given tune to make things like space and time disintegrate in the mind of the listener.

"...there are a few bands around that could be defined as post-rock, or just instrumental music if you wish, still aiming for the unknown, the exciting and adventurous. Grails, out of Portland, Oregon definately is such a band, combining a heavy stoner groove sensibility with added Eastern melodies to create a purple shrouded post-rock den.
“Take Refuge in Clean Living”, their fifth full length release, is a perfect example of an improving band, eager to learn from previous adventures while still adding different moves along the way.

If the title didn’t tell you already, “Stoned at the Taj Again”, is the album’s perfect opener. A heavy bass riff plodding along at mid-tempo while the band’s two guitarists lay out a web of swirling fingerpicked melodies. The breakdown in the middle is exemplary for a band like Grails, there’s no rushing, everything is based on groove and rhythm rather than build up and crescendo.

Their previous effort, “Burning Off Impurities”, already displayed Grails as more than just a post-rock band. And again, on this album, the mishmash of raga like drones that start off “11th Hour” and “Take Refuge”, the complex rhythms and fusion like drumming of Emil Amos (who joined OM recently) and the heady vibe throughout make Grails almost unclassifiable. There’s no boundaries, just adventure. And for us, listeners, there are big pay offs, like the massive organ sounds that enter “Take Refuge” halfway to transform the track into a ridiculously rewarding spacegroove. Just hop on that cloud, inhale a bit of that smoke and zone out to those grooves man."(


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