Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review - Grover Levy - Wrestling Angels

A good album that has failed to draw me back. I plan to rectify this oversight later today.

To be completely honest about this one, for all intents and purposes, this is a Rembrandts rip-off. It's all there: the hooky melodies, the great harmonies, the songs of love and friendship. This is the album The Rembrandts could have (and should have) made after their untitled project instead of creating L.P. with the infamous theme from Friends (hey, I'll admit that I still like the song... I'm not ashamed). But it's not The Rembrandts... it's just a single guy named Grover Levy ripping off their sound... and doing a mighty fine job at that!

Each of these three to four minute pop/rock gems glistens with good song writing and great production flourishes. Like The Rembrandts, Levy draws heavily from The Beatles, Matthew Sweet, and the two part vocal harmonies of the Everly Brothers. The songs are centered around the melody so while the album contains solid guitar work, don't expect your jaw to drop at any flashy guitar-work. The song as a whole is the focus, not some guitar flash drawn forth at the hands of a studio musician. The first song tackles hypocrisy with a great groove that kicks in at the chorus where the guitars develop a very nice crunch. "World Gone Crazy" is another upbeat song about life on this here planet. Trading in the electric guitars for acoustic, Levy pens "Marrianne", a sad song about a lost friend. The sound overall is consistent with the songs being mostly up-tempo with an even balance between ballads and harder rockers. "Tell Us What We Want To Hear" in particular has some very moving rhythm parts that still manage to remain instantly ear-friendly.

If this were The Rembrandts, I would say it was a great combination of the styles from their first two albums. But instead it's someone else doing their style and so I'm torn between slamming Grover Levy for stealing their sound and just enjoying these finely crafted songs for what they are. Since it's been so long since The Rembrandts have put out anything this good, I think I'll just sit back and enjoy.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, May 2000.

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