Gris Gris For the Season

The Gris Gris’ self-titled 2004 debut was a wicked psychedelic surprise that masterfully captured the Oakland band’s purist ’60s sensibilities on songs that celebrated drug excursions, free love and not giving a fuck — the idealistic make up of the hippy set. This time around, the Gris Gris are aiming a little higher in terms of ambition while trying to relive the tossed-off glory of their debut. The first "side” of this album is a six-song suite that moves through a series of movements that could quite easily have been (and essentially are) separate songs in their own right. "Down with Jesus” rises out of this organ-dominated trip-fest as a killer little stomp of a pop song (until it disintegrates into a tired riff of a bridge) along with nihilistic lines like "All fucking pigs must die” from "Ecks Em Eye.” "Big Engine Nazi Kid Daydream” would totally recall early Flaming Lips if it weren’t drenched in acoustic tones and "Year Zero” is pure Primal Scream/Pink Floyd psych fury. There are a lot of nice bits rising out of this slightly messy sophomore album, but one gets the feeling the Gris Gris could’ve spent a little more time fleshing out their songs as they more often than not go for the obvious riffs and changes, making For the Season a little too predictable beneath the surface and a little too ambitious and muddled on top. (Birdman)