The Guggenheim Grotto – The Universe is Laughing

credit: slowcoustic.com

Band: The Guggenheim Grotto
Album: The Universe is Laughing
Release Date: June 15, 2010

There’s an unmistakably spiritual sensibility to most of the tracks on The Guggenheim Grotto‘s third album, The Universe is Laughing. In some, the music even borders on what I’d consider worship. “Wings and Feathers” reminds me, at least in sound, to Rufus Wainwright’s “Hallelujah” cover. Fitting, considering a bulk of the album seems to be about both the good and the bad of falling in love.

One of the 10-track album’s standouts is “Concentrate,” a beautiful piece that builds from a simple combination of vocals and acoustic guitar to a tune with steady drumbeats and aid from the string family.

It bests all runtimes on the album by more than a minute. And I can’t help but think this was a conscious decision on Kevin and Mick’s part since a track like “Concentration” needs extra time to grow and intensify into the special thing that it is.

Yet probably the best Universe is Laughing track — and the most accessible — is “Wisdom.” Like “Paper Planes” on Kala or “Rill Rill” on Treats, the track doesn’t fit (stylistically, at least) with the rest of the album.

However, don’t let that deter you from giving “Wisdom” a listen. It oddly reminds me of The National with spice. The haunting twitches of a violin and the sweet “la la las” on the refrain are nice touches.

Based in Dublin, Ireland, The Guggenheim Grotto self-released their debut album, …Walzing Alone, to critical acclaim in their native land about five years ago. Thanks largely to iTunes, the group attracted new listeners in the States when “Philosophia” was promoted as the online store’s free download of the week in April 2007.

Extras:

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
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