Greetings fellow retronauts, it’s time to don your flares, drape your finest love beads around your necks, and set sail on the good ship ‘Absolutely’ care of Professor Plum Brandy, The Golden Goose, and The Fireball, a rock power trio collectively filling the world with mellow vibes as The Golden Grass! Gentle piss taking aside, for a number of years fans and writers alike, yours truly included, have been banging on about a whole throwback scene featuring such luminaries as Kadavar, Scorpion Child, and Blues Pills as if it were going to be some sort of flash in the pan or passing fad. As that “fad” now enters yet another year, I think it’s fair to say it is not some simple phase that bands were going through as an excuse to explain away dodgy clothing choices, rather it is a continuation of classic rock music that doesn’t bow to sound of the moment trends or electronic trickery to enhance questionable abilities, rather it is a movement that celebrates the ability to plain and simply play well. Takes deep breath, sips herbal tea, and rant over. Now let’s get down to the music.
‘Catch Your Eyes’ shimmies out of the speakers and ironically grabs your ears, gently caressing the lucky listener’s lobes with swapped lead vocals and glorious harmonies backed up by hook laden beats and a bottle neck guitar solo guaranteed to have feet tapping around the globe, quickly followed by the harder rocking swagger of ‘Show Your Hand’, another track that highlights what a three piece can do with ability and practice without resorting to that bane of modern music the electronic over polish. Whilst undoubtedly well engineered, there is nothing in the track that says it can’t be reproduced immaculately live without relying on tricks and samples, and an absolutely (apologies for the unintended pun) rock solid one-two opening combination for the album.
The good stuff continues unabated with ‘Runaway’, and the experience the band has doubtless gained over their five years together shows in the flawless arrangement of the track that harkens back to the best of Grand Funk Railroad or Bloodrock, two acts that must surely be an influence on The Golden Grass every bit as much as the smoky good stuff that The Golden Grass may or may not be named for; the bass, drums, and guitars are truly equals in the mix, each skilfully played and supporting the other, perfectly framing the flawless vocals of Messrs Brandy and Goose (Oh, and if you’ve not heard of Bloodrock as I must assume anyone reading this knows who Grand Funk are, check them out for some fine proto-metal riffage in ‘Melvin Laid An Egg’). Every track on the album is crafted with quality and an obvious love for the sheer joy of playing, the stand-out for me being ‘Out On The Road’, an ode to rock and the constant quest to share it bundled up in a Grateful Dead style mix of jazzy psychedelia and extended jams that sound loose and improvised, a sure sign of the hard work and dedication that went into creating them; nothing this effortless sounding can be anything but the product of many, many hours playing honed in practise, the studio, and obviously ‘Out On The Road.’
Whether you want to rock out, freak out, or just plain chill out, in ‘Absolutely’ The Golden Grass have delivered a mighty fine accompaniment to those activities, a testament to the hard work they have doubtlessly put in to squeeze three albums and a whole host of tours into only half a decade together. Some live shows across Europe are due to support the album, as well as doubtless many more miles burning rubber to bring their sound to the people, and I can only suggest you catch them if you can as their music deserves to be heard.