Grand Mal Love Is the Best Con in Town

Bill Whitten has dropped one for the ages with this fourth full-length effort from his strung-out sounding, eyeliner-in-the-rain New York City combo Grand Mal. Whereas past releases have seen the band embrace their heroes in decidedly derivative fashion, Love Is the Best Con in Town finds Grand Mal confidently settled into their own classically cool, swaggering stylistic niche located somewhere between the Bowery and Bushnell Park. Whitten comes off sounding equally comfortable leaning solo into a croon-seasoned piano as he does throwing down gritty guitar licks while leading a veritable Rolling Stones tribute band through Beggars Banquet-era material. As if to beat critics to the punch, the artist wears his most obvious influences on his (album) sleeve, with lyrics that name-check Keith Richards, David Bowie and various NYC neighbourhoods and landmarks scattered liberally throughout these dozen tracks. Over 20 other musicians contributed their skills to this latest release by a band that, despite those numbers, has effectively become a solo enterprise both compositionally and conceptually. (New York Night Train)