This ain’t your regular barbershop-quartet. In fact, these are not barbers nor are there four of them. But they’re still tight. With a new line-up, Grooms newest album has a new sound that should please the old fans as well. Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair is the product of change, both forced and voluntary - but it’s tight!
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A beautiful record with the melodic tactfulness of Real Estate, the unseemly dark atmospheres of Radiohead circa ‘Kid A’ and the looping riffs of Unwound -- plus a fair bit of shoegaze and the self-awareness to go with it -- ‘Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair’ is one of those special records that feels both dazzlingly special and utterly familiar. Bands have done what Grooms do so well before, of course -- one act that comes to mind immediately after hearing this record is Film School, a band just as capable of melding subtle shoegaze dynamics into baser, more directly pining indie rock -- but it doesn’t matter what else is out there in the world when you’re stuck in a dream like this.
Grooms have an unnerving understanding of pretty much every warped rock pastiche that’s existed since music’s inception, mastering the art of catchy math on “Cross Off”, which dives from out-of-shape riffing into perfectly devised vocal lines, as if bridging the gap between Don Cab and Avi Buffallo. They do a pretty good ethereal dream pop band with “Cross Off”, and pay a brief homage to motorik on “Doctor M”. Of course, their first love is shoegaze, and a distorted chord is their language of love. “Will The Boys?” shows how intricately they care about the production, engineering and performance of their guitar work, and it pays off into a beautiful celebration of the genre: a way to say new things and conjure strange, unfelt feelings in the same old sound.
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- Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair by Grooms
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