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THE GRAVES BROTHERS DELUXE: Reviews for “San Malo” cd

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GRAVES BROTHERS DELUXE, THE – San Malo – CD – Green Cookie Records – 2010

review by: Avi Shaked

There’s something sneaky about this new release by The Graves Brothers Deluxe. Underneath a disguise of a rock outfit that delivers its modern approach to blues rock (“neo blues rock,” if you wish), there’s something even more complicated. It took us some listens to put our finger on it, but then it finally struck us: There’s a beating King Crimson spirit in this invigorated set of songs.

Sure, the quirky sax on “Splinters” is a throwback to ‘70s Crimson, but it is in fact the nod towards the Adrian Belew-fronted Crimson (‘80s and forward) that is evident throughout: in the rhythms, in the guitar vocalization and in the songs’ semi-hysteric character. It is perhaps most apparent on “Five Foot Category Five,” which is delivered with a tricky guitar and feels like it was lifted off Crimson’s 1982 Beat.

Lest not we forget that it was also King Crimson who offered an updated version of the blues earlier in this millennium (ProzaKc Blues), and The Graves Brothers Deluxe do live up to the spirit, albeit in a more groovy (rather than metallic) setting, enhanced by tasty double bass licks, staggering keyboards and a slightly possessed vocal delivery. Add some swinging, captivating songwriting (in terms of both lyrics and tunes) to the careful, accessible musical explorations mentioned earlier, and you can see why San Malo is an essential and singular demonstration of contemporary rock music. (9.5/10)

Maelstrom Zine
3234 Clay St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
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Written by Green Cookie

January 9th, 2011 at 6:47 pm