Writing this review I’m reminded of the fact that I live in the Midwest where it’s winter nearly 7 months out of the year. When listening to something like The Grouch’s new LP Show You the World it has a certain California feel that just feels different then the music that comes out of the Midwest. With Show You the World the Grouch maintains some of his previous sounds that have been familiar since Living Legends but expands on some of the music where it verges on more electronic elements.
The first track “Watch Watch” with Mike Marshall is remiscent of Warren G and Nate Dogg circa 94, with a great laid back sound and smooth chorus. Grouch follows this up by jumping all the way to the present with the next 2 songs with “Clones” and “Artsy”. Clones has a light digital backdrop with some decent lyrics, but the concept of the track just isn’t all that successful. “Artsy”, which originally appeared on eDit’s Certified Air Raid last year, fares better. Having a partial lounge feel, the song has some smart rhymes where Grouch calls out hipsters and the indie set while basically just saying he is who he is.
“Yardwork” begins with a low key beat that sounds like it was created at about 3 in darkness with the exception of the blue glow of a computer monitor. Grouch talks about the costs of making music as an artist dropping, “Put it on the market, look at the offers I get, now that’s independent game man, nobody else’s name I built the frame, put the wheels on, ya feel the flame?”. On “Mom and Pop Killer”, Grouch laments the death of small enterprise and the independent way of doing things. It’s not a song about life and or epic movie themes, but what we all deal with everyday and that makes it all the more relevant the most of the things going in our ears.
“Never Die” once again brings back that mid 90’s era when California reigned supreme, it’s almost impossible not to imagine this song as a soundtrack to a beautiful ride down the streets in a drop top. Between this song and the end are a few hit or miss songs but the album ends on a strong note with “The Time” and “Breath”. Where earlier on the album the song Shero seemed to misuse guitars in a cheesy Boyz II Men way, “The Time” rides a almost Johnny Cash like guitar and a great simple chorus by Marty J. The last song of the album ends on a relaxed note and is great bookend to everything before it. A soft soul sample and some what sounds like some backwards vocals sped up and then later played backwards at normal speeds cought me off guard at first.
Like many of the Living Legends releases this has it’s ups and downs. Grouch has a great perspective in the way he writes his songs and the topics he chooses but ultimately the music behind him comes off as a little unoriginal sometimes and rarely catches the ear. But when he’s on as on “Watch Watch” or “The Time” he proves that he – like Murs - has prospects outside of Living Legends. – Dane Johnson
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