The Western Lands
Gravenhurst’s music is unsettling but you have to listen carefully in order for the creeps to set in. They’re akin to a British Slint: dark and dead calm, with occasional blasts of electric guitar to jolt the attentive listener. Gravenhurst are often called a folk band but the tracks on The Western Lands could be plucked by John Carpenter to serve as incidental music — one part even approximates the Halloween piano lick. Singer Nick Talbot’s voice, which might be described as a coo (he’s like an asexual Colin Blunstone), blends perfectly with Gravenhurst’s cool but ominous sound. There are a few faults. If you happen to tune out, and the possibility is high over the course of the entire album, especially without visual aides, you might become bored. At times, Gravenhurst’s up-tempo tracks sound a bit too alternative radio rock-friendly — "Hollow Men” is reminiscent of "Bleed American” by Jimmy Eat World, an unlikely comparison to say the least. Gravenhurst have done better and they may not be a "collect ’em all” band. But they are good and they do manage to hit nerves. Though their music doesn’t always seem spectacular on the surface, it has an insidious way of affecting the listener at the subconscious level.
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