Considering the inspiration for starting this blog can be traced back to seeing Good For Grapes perform for the first time at Serenity, a post about their debut album is more than in order.
In a matter of days, Good For Grapes will hand in their final report as one of the top 20 artists in this year’s Peak Performance Project. They will then wait in grueling anticipation to find out whether they made it into the elusive top 3. Luckily, the band will be easily distracted as they are currently on their Canadian tour which has taken them as far east as Montreal and ends in Kelowna on Nov. 2, just in time for the Peak announcement on Nov. 5.
Being a part of something like the Peak Performance Project, especially in its final weeks, is imaginably the cause of the odd sleepless night. However, whatever the outcome, the news of true note for this Surrey based band is the release of their highly anticipated debut album this past week entitled “Man On The Page.”
Simply put, the album is an exceptional piece of art from start to finish.
If you have ever heard Good For Grapes perform live, you will know well the energy they produce, the esthetic of their eclectic appeal, and the musicianship they hold as a sum of their equal parts.
It is a strange experience hearing an album for the first time from an artist or band you have primarily listened to live, whether it be in person or through online clips of their concerts. You forget how studio recordings can be quite different.
Upon first listen to “Man On The Page”, I was instantly surprised. There are subtleties to its sound that have created a solid stamp for the band, likely due in part to their highly regarded and award winning producer Colin Stewart. Then there are the additions to some of their songs I have come to love that had me on the edge of my seat, which led to the enjoyable experience of listening to new songs that amplified their growth and development as a band.
What is most impressive about the album is that it sounds like a classic folk record that has already stood the test of time. Of the band’s countless influences, traces of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen come to mind throughout the 13 tracks. Comparisons to these geniuses in music is not a stretch. The accomplished songwriting produced by lead singer Daniel McBurnie is eloquent, intelligent, vulnerable, and insightful.
After listening to the album multiple times through, its relevance becomes highly apparent. The audio is incredibly current, easily carving out its own place in today’s folk rock sound, but its themes make the ultimate impact. Just when you think our society is going to hell in a hand basket, a young band like this comes along that makes you have confidence in our future once again. Our country’s youth have not been lost to this world of greed, technology and destruction. They are here, hearts open, minds full, singing to a generation that is not afraid to feel, not afraid to speak up, not willing to be a part of the status quo. The resilience of the true artist is alive and well. The reason Good For Grapes may reminisce of the old is because they are the voice of the new. And it’s about time, my God, it’s about time.
Choice tracks: Hallelujah Ghost – a wonderful recording capturing the live sound of a fan favourite; In Veno Veritas – the never before heard instrumental ending is a welcome juxtaposition to this truly haunting song; Man On The Page – a beautifully crafted new song of internal examination, whose sentiment is felt that much deeper thanks to pianist Alexa Unwin’s featured vocals that make this a real standout.
“Man On The Page” is now available on iTunes.
The release of the album’s hard copy and live DVD are expected in late 2013.
To stay up to date with the band, including news of upcoming shows, follow Good For Grapes on facebook http://www.facebook.com/goodforgrapes and twitter @GoodForGrapes