Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grenadine - Don't Forget The Halo

(TeenBeat/Simple Machines, 1993)

Unable to get myself worked up about the Grenadine catalog, I’ve been avoiding thinking and writing about this single since Sunday. It’s been a while since I’ve cared so little, pro or con, about a band, and such ambivalence makes reviewing – even lazy, poorly-written reviewing like mine – a real drag. But now, after a nap, some “Best Show on WFMU,” some World Baseball Classic, a series of push-ups, and a heavy sigh, it’s time for me to quit crying and get it over with. Because enough, as they say, is enough. Gotta forge ahead. So here goes. Grenadine. Without passion.

As on previous single “Triology,” Toomey’s vocal showcase – “Don’t Forget the Halo” – is a gentle and sparsely-arranged snooze; this otherwise dull, meandering song has several sections during which Rob Christiansen appears on shuffling drums, and these bits at least generate mild indie-genealogical interest for me in how much they have in common with early American Analog Set, both in terms of the metronomic percussion and the chiming guitars. Non-historians can pass, however… overall, nuttin too splendid to dig here. On the B, “777” is noteworthy as the best of the four – count ’em! – Grenadine tracks I’ve heard, a multi-part, tempo-shifting instrumental that builds to a furious finish thanks to some intense, brush-wielding drumming by group MVP Christiansen. And, again, the guitar sonics impress. So yes, if the band’s two albums are filled with weird, codeine-laced pop-prog like “777” rather than the A-side’s bargain-bin background music, I’ll confess that I can actually imagine a world in which I find myself giving a shit about these kooks. Otherwise, I’ll just go ahead and live out my days in blissful ignorance of the remainder of Grenadine’s output. How should I play this one?

6 comments:

ithinkihatemy45s said...

One more note: My 7" has horrendous, crackly sound. No idea whether this is a problem common across the entire pressing, or if my copy was just overplayed and underprotected by its previous owner.

Aaron said...

The crackling sound is a result of the packaging combined with the limitations of clear color vinyl. Color vinyl records often don't have the same quality as heavy black vinyl and with this one the sleeves stuck to the records from day one. A nice design experiment that affected the utility of the record.

Personally, I can't disagree with you more on the quality of the record. This is one of the gems of the Simple Machines - Teenbeat catalogs. A nice understated counterpoint to the indie rock guitar bombast of the day.

Josh said...

Just fond this blog, assume it's mostly tongue in cheek. The part about AmAnSet being your sonic link to appreciating a Jenny Toomey song was precious.

I really love this single and it's probably the record that got me into Grenadine as well as Tsunami in the 90's, but yeah the static-heavy sound is terrible. THe A-side appeared, in static-less, cd quality form, on the Feb 1994 CMJ sampler cd. Maybe someday "777" will somehow get similar treatment.

Josh said...

actually I just found out that both songs are available on cd in the Wakefield Teenbeat boxset. Bless your precious blog for making me look into it

John McBomb said...

I had this 7" I would KILL for an mp3 of it. one of my favorite 7"s of all time. (I had a lot of favorites)

Anonymous said...

just listened to my 7' for the first time in probably 15 years. Wonderful songs, but as others have noted, the physical record has not aged well and has developed horrible his and crackle far exceeding any retro-cuteness that I normally feel when hearing a little his and pop as the needle makes it ways through the grooves.