Grails Burden of Hope

Grails are an instrumental quintet collective who currently reside in Portland, Oregon, yet they individually hail from all corners of America, which is perhaps why this album consists of a cornucopia of melodies that seem to have its own unique ethnic sound. At their core, there appears to be a genetic sound source involving key essential elements to the best of 1990s indie thought rock, and they translate it into their own musical language. Their pensive floor and sky gazing sound (a blend of Rex, Karate, Angels of Light, Windsor for the Derby, Slow Loris, Medicine and Godspeed) is very disciplined on the surface, yet seeping through the cracks are undisciplined/untraditional approaches to their playing of violins and the like — thus creating a smooth and friendly contradiction of styles that just seems to be meant to be together. Thus, at times Burden of Hope comes off as more like an aural glimpse into the development stage of a song, but logically, any given number might reach a seemingly explosive well-polished majestic classical climax reminiscent of Isis, Neurosis and Swans. But, what they do differently and uniquely here is reach and nail in these peaks in a rustic manner — light mid-fi production included. The ultimate goal that these musicians ultra-successfully achieve is that they emit grand amounts of emotion, and do so via various means. This is, without a doubt, everything that a sleeper hit of a record should be. (Neurot)