Monday, August 08, 2011

Grails "Burden of Hope"

My introduction to Grails was with "the march" which I heard filled with static on a college radio station. Immediately I thought "that's almost the music in my head that I have been looking for." It was mournful and melancholy, sadly madly driven and beautiful.

Being instrumental, its often hard to figure out a song you heard with no chorus to search on, but I finally found them. It took a few months to find the CD, as record stores have no idea where to put it. In my local Streetlight records they had it in both Indy and Psychedelic for many years. Most people call it post but its progressive rock to me, a wonderful prog not tied down with all the prog that has come before.

I think of Burden of hope as Grail's source or root. Other records like Redlight have splashes of Jazz or Russian folk music. This record seems to be the dreamy core of their sound. Dreamy is a word I see repeated in reviews of Grails works. They remind my of Eno & Fripp in that since. Is both tangible and ethereal and you can say did that happen where those notes there as I remember or am I feeling an extra part to the music.

While there are ten songs on the record I hear three when I listen. Burden of hope, Lord I hate your day, The Deed, In the beginning and Invocation meld into a sing work for me. It almost feels like a collected work like something Rush might do. Space Prophet Dogon breaks this piece. Really this the one track I don't like it has a different feel, almost silly. Anywhere else it would be fine even good, but it breaks the dream of the other songs for me. The March. Broken Ballad, White Flag and Canyon Hymn again seem a long collected series. The sadness seems to really come on on these, but I feel they are the best on the record.

I want to call out Broken Ballad specifically. I think this may be my favorite song on all of the Grails records. It is also the most straight forward. If they had a vocalist this would probably have done well on the radio. Even without vox it is a lyrical song that sticks with you.

I think this is a great starting point if you are thinking about Grails. It really isn't a good starting point for post rock though, it will spoil you.

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