Grace & Tony Phantasmagoric
Tennessee based Grace & Tony describe themselves as Southern Gothic. Their mildy bluegrass-tinged americana folk style is riddled with lyrics inspired by Lovecraft, King, and Poe as well as historical bits (because the truth is stranger than fiction right?!). This is the band’s third album and my first exposure to them.
The album opens with “Adam of Labour,” a catchy and dark ditty told from the perspective of Frankenstein’s creation. It’s really Tony’s baritone voice that turns your head right off the bat. His voice sounds similar to Hugo Ferreira (Tantric) and Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) and given the eclectic nature of the music, my mind immediately started to draw comparisons to Crash Test Dummies later work. This song is catchy as hell and beautifully fluid musically. It’s almost gypsy sound makes it a great album opener.
“72713” is the album stopper here for me though. While a bit more straightforward than some of the other tunes, it’s powerful, near anthem quality and live sound is just astounding. It’s a deeply passionate piece that the voices and strings lead. When the harmonies kick in it goes from moving to intensely emotional. I have a hard time moving past this track, I just want to hear it over and over again.
“A Fever on the Cthulu Queen” is another favorite. Although an instrumental, the music has many movements that make it feel pretty epic. It flows freely from gypsy to jazz to folk to some semi-punk elements that make it intensely interesting, especially the last 45 seconds or so of the song where all the elements really come together and give you that top-of-the-mountain moment. The abrupt stop does bother me a bit though if I’m being honest.
Overall, I really like this album but it’s a bit disjointed. Part of me feels like Grace & Tony are trying to not get boxed in to any style. Another part of me thinks that there was a masterplan and it just didn’t work out as perfectly as intended. Still another part of thinks they are just weirdos like me. No matter how you slice it, if you are looking for something new and fascinating then this is it. If you are a fan of Crash Test Dummies, Dresden Dolls, or Jerome Wincek’s Revelator EPs then you definitely should check this out.