I don’t know that I’ve got a comparable album I’ve listened to with such constancy over a few-day stretch like Grandeurs’ self-titled collection of seven. I don’t write this for effect, really. It’s unmitigated truth.
I’ll assume the last time I’d been so fully paralyzed by a new release was probably late last year, for Apteka’s gem of an album, Gargoyle Days. But even that one — an album I would eventually list as my top pick of 2011 — might not hold a candle to what Grandeurs’ debut has been for yours truly. And my office mates. Just ask them — I had this one on near loop today.
In a year that began for me with a healthy boost of garage rock and like ilk — Radar Eyes, The Runnies, Outer Minds — has since come down from its high by way of Rambo’s Rock and Roll Monsters and Unicycle Loves You’s Failure. And then some Little Boy Jr. got thrown in, and finally Tin Tin Can. I didn’t plann for what seems, in hindsight, like a progression from gritty fuzz to clean, softening sounds, but that’s been my year, in a very simplified way.
Grandeurs came out of nowhere for me — as these Chicago-based bands tend to do — and I’m positively delighted to have stumbled. That under a hundred, still, have sworn their allegiance to Grandeurs by the time this got posted through a “like” on the ‘book astounds me. But in time I guess — the self-titled debut came out a month and a half ago.
Grandeurs is music for the unhurried. This doesn’t so much align with me, generally, because I’ve learned I prefer things with more, you know, uppity step. But one go and two at Grandeurs, and the dudes struck real chord in me quick.
The self-titled is populated with tracks with queer names like “Wakes of Earth” and “Sleep Debt,” but I think that goes with the territory of their brand of reflection. These pieces just build, slowly and deliberately. As time glides by, more instruments and backup gently enter the fray. Sounds from once before reprise and again, and pretty soon you’re left with passionate bouquets of beautiful clamor.
Perhaps the track that does it best is “Wakes of Earth,” whose throaty piano about three quarters of the way done gives way in me to outbreaks of goose flesh.
“Wakes of Earth” is also one of the few instances on the self-titled that issues a finale of real catharsis. So much of the album — practically all of it — seems built on the climb, but then gives — plateaus — before reaching summit. I should hate that about Grandeurs, but I absolutely don’t. It has the opposite effect in me than I think it should, and I don’t know that I’ve figured out why yet.
These tracks, I think, are the best of the lot.
“Wakes of Earth”:
- The Chicago-based Grandeurs is: Corban Lott, Trent Holton, A.J. Halbrook and Adam Whiteley. | Facebook
- Their self-titled album is available for $7. Or stream for free. | Bandcamp
- Grandeurs opens for Woodsman and Dustin Wong at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday, March 28. $8. | Event Info
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