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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Larson - Of Grog Vim [Important Records - 2016]

Of Grog Vim is a cinematic take on the epic life of an apparent visionary legend called Grog Vim. However I’m of the opinion this is a fictional character as I can’t find a single reference to this person barring this album!.Moving on, this is the 15th album from Italian cult band, Larsen, who happily play and frolic in the mixed arena of sound-art and avant-rock.

Opening with the nine minute “Mother Vim” this album begins building a beautifully rising atmosphere, but from the depths of nowhere. The slow guitars and bass mix with the occasionally skittish piano before the drums just bring everything into line and the piece coalesces and the distant contrail of distortion just dissipates off into the distance.

“Gordon And Grog” keeps pace with the opening but brings in a space rock synth as we enter the void left by the thankful departure of Yes, albeit slower and less “proggy”, the sound is still lo-fi prog. And yet for all its’ faults it’s good. It would be better without the synth though!

With “Aiming The Target” Larsen really get you in the palm of their hand, the track is both driven and free,this is where instrumental albums should be. A slowed machine gun guitar banters with a drifting squeal of keyboard that just turns the track into a sinister meandering piece.

“Back To The Moon”, the closing track is a drum-led piece with the synth and guitar taking a slight back step in the mix. This gives you, the listener, more time to feel the track and use those drums to access those other, normally more prominent elements, at a more leisurely pace. I enjoy the fact the obvious instruments haven’t been given priority on this track. Taking a slightly more left field stance on the mix does help the track move along, and it’s finishes the
album perfectly.

Rock Instrumental albums, in my humble opinion, have the ability to be utterly sublime or utterly rubbish. There’s always the possibility we could enter the doomed world of prog-rock and find ourselves scaling the unfortunate heights of a Rick Wakeman album. Of Grog Vim has some utterly wonderful music in it, it also has some mediocre music in it. Where Larsen begin to go with Of Grog Vim is almost an instrumental an album that really demands some vocal interaction just to ratify the music. It’s a good album, don’t get me wrong, but the use of regular changes (choruses almost on occasion) do show what is lacking rather than spotlight what it already there.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Adam Skyes
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