Album Review: Grounders – Grounders
It seems that lately there has been quite the insurgence of chillwave bands in the last few years that are following in the footsteps of bands like Tame Impala and Neon Indian. Dreamy, lo-fi beach ready tunes are filling up the radio and it’s easy for many of those bands to start to blend together. Enter Grounders, a four piece outfit out of Toronto that crafts psychedelic chillwave tracks like they’ve been doing it for years and years.
Their debut album dropped back in March and it’s full of sun drenched tracks that will be dominating your summer playlists. Album opener “Secret Friend” kicks off with soft dreamy synths that build into cascading electronic sounds backed by an infectious beat. “Where do you go? Waiting around, where do you go from here?” Andrew Davis’ shimmery vocals ask through the chorus. The video and track evoke a sense of wonder and leave me itching to get to the next track to see where Grounders takes me next.
While “Secret Friend” plays it a bit low key, “Bloor Street and Pressure” goes all out. With it’s chirpy hooks and fuzzy beats it’s the perfect track to wake me up after a long week of not getting enough sleep. Grounders is great at pulling influences from bands such as The Velvet Underground and The Zombies but using them to craft their own unique lo-fi sound. I’m only three tracks in, but I can easily say that “Bloor Street and Pressure” could be my favorite track on the album.
“Vyvanse,” which takes it’s name from the ADHD drug, also catches my attention immediately with it’s opening soulful guitar riff calling to mind some of my favorite 70’s bluesy rock tracks. “Face Blind” will take you back to psychedelic 60’s rock immediately until the 80’s esque vocals kick in. While any other band could have really lost their sense of their own identity by pulling from so many different genres and eras, Grounders excels at crafting tracks that feel both nostalgic and brand spanking new.
Closing out Grounders’ self-titled LP is “No Ringer.” With it’s wobbly synths and saxophone freak-out, it’s definitely a standout track that will make you remember Grounders long after the song has finished playing. It’s not a track that I feel like I should like because it’s just so weird compared to just about everything else that I listen to, but I can’t help but love it’s quirkiness.
While we seem to be getting flooded with sound alike chillwave bands, I think that Grounders manages to make their mark and stand out. The quartet shows that they know how to draw from their favorite acts and use those influences to move their own music forward rather than just regurgitate something that we’ve heard over and over again.