Friday, July 11, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: A firm Grip on modern alternative rock

March 20. 2013 1:09AM
By Mark Uricheck, Weekender Correspondent

Grip of the Gods


Rating: W W W W

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Philadelphia-by-way-of-Scranton band Grip of the Gods is certainly a little different than many post-alternative indie outfits currently on the club scene. Whereas most bands are either smothered in layers of distortion or abandoning the amps altogether in favor of a mandolin and acoustic six-string, Grip of the Gods falls somewhere refreshingly in between. The three-piece outfit's third EP, “Take,” is delicately heavy – creating moods with ambient melody a la The Fray, combined with the somewhat displaced, rhythmic uneasiness of A Perfect Circle, though not as outright plodding.

The band's also got a touch of new wave sensibility, as tracks like “Connecting Dots” apply a moody, synth-driven weight akin to Depeche Mode/Joy Division, while “Take” shifts into a Killers-inspired rock posture, vocalist/guitarist Rich Barni's faux-falsetto vocal pitch adding to the brooding despondency of his inquisitive lyrical framework. Rounded out by bassist Alex Deck and drummer Corey Deck, the band conjures a freeform and progressive alternative trance sound that refuses to stick to convention.

Experimental instrumentation is one of the band's strengths. Barni employs guitar effect comparable to U2's The Edge on “Icono;” the track wouldn't sound out of place on said band's “Achtung Baby.” Similarly, “Tell Me” takes on a time signature-twisting vibe, the track swirling into jazz-chorded, atmospheric euphoria as Barni contemplates “if things will change, when you finally give up.” “Heavy” is definitely Radiohead influenced in its martyred soundscape, with lyrics reflecting the tortured ruminations of Linkin Park's Chester Bennington (“We feel so out of breath, but somehow the beating inside of our chest won't give up”).

“Take” is emotive, surreal, and musically stimulating thought patterns from one of Penn.'s most artistically brash young bands. Grip of the Gods play music without walls.

Grip of the Gods 'Take' Rating: W W W W

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