The Grapes of Wrath High Road

The Grapes of Wrath High Road
7
Even during their initial flash of fame in the late '80s, the sound of Vancouver, BC's the Grapes of Wrath was built upon a timeless concept of psychedelic pop. It's allowed their sporadic reunions over the past decade to seem more like new opportunities. This is certainly the case with High Road, the first all-new recording by both Hooper brothers and Kevin Kane since 1991. Tom Hooper's surprisingly twangy opening track, "Good To See You," is a welcoming handshake, but from there the trio get back to serious business, with Kane's "Isn't There" and "Paint You Blue," two dark, jangly gems showcasing his highly underrated guitar skills. Hooper's response is densely arranged ballad "I'm Lost (I Miss You)" and the New Order-ish "Picnic," the clearest example of the band's musical maturation. Still, the songwriting balance tips slightly towards Kane, whose melodic gifts are wonderfully displayed on acoustic track "Take on the Day" and the majestic "Broken." It goes without saying that long-time fans will be more than satisfied with High Road, but in so many respects this is the sound of a new band, one that still have a wealth of memorable ideas to offer. (Aporia)