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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
10 March 2004
Grand Champeen, The One That Brought You (Glurp)
You could look at the latest release by Grand Champeen in one of two ways. The band is either: A.) A welcomed return to the carelessly guitar drenched, beer slurping, big bar sound that made heroes out of the Replacements and Uncle Tupelo or B.) An overly revered (at least by their small but rapid fan base) group of wannabes that couldn't tune (or un-tune) Westerberg's or Farrar's guitar. OK, OK, OK. So maybe there's some middle ground there somewhere. But after several listens of The One That Brought You, the verdict leans toward B.) overly revered wannabes. Of course, if you're one of those folks who though the comeback of southern rock was like a deliciously steaming plate of refried beans, maybe Grand Champeen is just what your colon ordered. They are sphincter-thumping loud and they are brash. And they are certainly sloppy. All things which endear them those left behind in the absence of the Mats and Uncle Tupelo. Yet, while they've got reckless down, Grand Champeen doesn't seem to understand the value of contrast and understatement that Westerberg, Farrar and Tweedy appreciated. That's the key difference. Grand Champeen tries to come at you all at once. When they do turn it down a notch, they're mostly successful (see "Step Into My Heart"), but then it's back to balls out, loud rawk. There's nothing surprising about a Grand Champeen song and that element of the unexpected is what separates a bar band from seminal rock group.
.: posted by Editor 7:52 AM