What a pleasant and persistent surprise this record is!
Internal Logic, out 22 May on HLR Records, is a hypnotic and propulsive little record. San Francisco trio Grass Widow may have invented a new genre of music.
Frankly, I don't know how to peg this stuff. There's a hint of Lush but there's no way that Grass Widow are shoegaze revivialists. There's a touch of early Stereolab but also so much more here. The songs pop and surge and ride away on those glorious harmonies. It's like some unholy mix of Breeders, early Talking Heads, and a tiny bit of vocal harmonies from the ladies in The B-52's.
Lead track "Goldilocks Zone" pops along like Toenut -- remember that Mute Records band? -- and remains catchy and a touch abrasive, albeit in a nice way.
"Disappearing Industries" has a hint of The Bangles in those harmonies -- gasp! did I really say that? -- but the twitchy guitar recalls earlier bands like Talking Heads, or Pylon, or early R.E.M., even. And the cut surges and soars along with the drums and bass sounding a tiny bit like those dudes in Joy Division.
The music here is so nicely different that it's hard to pinpoint exactly what is going on.
Following the instrumental interlude of "A Light in the Static", we get the Fall-meets-Blake Babies "Spock on Muni". The song owes a debt to the work of bands like The Raincoats but it is, like most of Internal Logic, remarkably more thought-out and less spacious than the work of those earlier UK pioneers. Things never veer completely off-the-rails here. The surf-rock guitar and the bass work keep things moving forward. With a hint of that final Pixies album, the cut is a twangy little masterpiece -- one of the stand-out cuts on this record.
From the poppy and percolating "Advice" to The Shaggs-like "Whistling in the Dark", the tunes on Internal Logic keep captivating. This is a charming record that's equal parts art rock and (nearly) smooth Roches-like pop. What a strange and surreal mix the ladies in Grass Widow have concocted.
I can only imagine how good these cuts will sound when performed live by Grass Widow. The playing here is tight -- almost funky -- and The Jesus and Mary Chain-esque guitar moments never overwhelm the tunes. Things are held in check even as they rocket along at a dangerous clip.
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Internal Logic will be out on 22 May 2012. Get it. Dig it.