Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reviews:: Grand Theft Bus - Made Upwards

I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've talked about Fredericton juggernaut Grand Theft Bus on the hill. I think it's safe to say that the band's previous rep as a jam band is the main reason why we've never featured the Bus before. Neither Ack nor I are too down with the improvisational styles of jam bands, or their often fragrant fans who enjoy going to their shows and twirling in place.

But, my opinion of the band began to change when Ack and I caught a bit of GTB's set at last year's pop explosion. We caught their last few songs, and I think we were both had a look on our faces that said "well then, I am pleasantly surprised with that". So, I checked out the two songs from the Bus on Zunior's Forward Music Group sampler, and ended up putting one on our NB mix tape.

Made Upwards is Grand Theft Bus' latest album, and I'm not sure where the upwards comes in, but apparently the album was actually made at Old Government House in Fredericton. Old Government House is the home of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, which for those unfamiliar with Canadian government structures, is the Queen's representative in each province. Obviously it's a powerless position at this point, but it still has quite the symbolic role, and the fact they were allowed to record there shows they are kind of a big deal in their hometown.

Based on my time with this album, I think GTB has the chops to be a big deal in a number of towns. This album finds the band moving to a more formal song structure, and it's a move for the better in my opinion. Musically the band is plenty solid, with a heavy groove that is obviously a product of their roots. All the songs are guitar-heavy, but drummer Bob Deveau is the backbone of most songs, setting a brisk pace when needed and filling in the spaces nicely when the other instruments take the lead. Plus he often plays shirtless, which means he rocks the hardest.

I've been through the album about five times now, and I still don't think I could disscuss the songwriting on this album. I do know that album opener Do I Have To Dance seems to find the band wanting to distance themselves from their hippie-dance past (note: the song likely isn't about this, but I like to think is), and I Guess Not I Guess is about the perils of past due bills, but the rest of the songs are kind of esoteric on the lyric side and I kept getting caught up in head bobbing and humming along before I realized the song was halfway done. Is this a problem? Not in my humble. But the band shows they also have the skills the shift gears on the acoustic led Private Wars, which is kind of their Weighty Ghost moment, to use an Olsen twins-thin analogy.

So, what is the afterschool special style moral to this review? I think it's that holding on to book-by-its-cover type opinions of a band, although usually the stock in trade of music bloggers, can lead you to miss out on a solid album. And Made Upwards is indeed solid, while also guaranteed to put a little pep in your step. Check out this New Brunswick foursome if they are new to you.

myspace :: web :: label :: buy it from zunior

Posted at 9:07 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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