Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Release from The Grisly Hand

Strains of the familiar are given new life on Flesh & Gold, the latest offering from The Grisly Hand. Equal parts irreverent and incisive, the group expands its lyrical and musical palette following 2013’s critically acclaimed Country Singles.

The band’s new focus on eclectic arrangements is immediately evident on ‘Get In Line, Stranger’. Opening with an elegant chorus, the mood shifts to a swirling, psychedelic pastiche of layered guitars, piano and vocals. ‘Baby Talk’ and ‘Satan Ain’t Real’ mix Afro-Cuban-inspired rhythms with the band’s familiar acoustic instrumentation.

‘Regrets On Parting’--a poignant exploration of our desire to discard the old in favor of the new, inspired by the writings of French philosopher Denis Diderot--evokes a 60s Stax Records vibe augmented by a stellar three-part horn section.

Emboldened by lyrical and musical acuity, the band is not afraid to broach delicate subjects. On ‘Brand New Bruise’, lead vocalist Lauren Krum’s delivery shifts between defiant and tremulous, embodying the heartache and confusion of a domestic violence victim. ‘Satan Ain’t Real’—at first glance a flippant take on a classic country tune—calls out the author of said song for hiding behind the façade of faith, rather than taking responsibility for his actions. ‘Baby Talk’ was written shortly before the birth of singer Jimmy Fitzner’s daughter; the song explores the overwhelming joys (and apprehensions) of a young family.

Elsewhere the mood is more upbeat. ‘Scrappy Dobbins’ is a swaggering rocker which elevates a wisecracking coworker to quasi-mythical status. ‘Regina’ and ‘Ease On Up’ inject fresh energy into classic pop and rock forms. The closing track, ‘Name In Lights’, recalls the band’s country roots with a heartfelt paean to a beloved from across thousands of miles, a gentle reminder of all that separates us and, more importantly, what makes us complete.

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