A CD arrives. It sits there for a few days as I’m busy. I eventually pop it into the player, start it up and… I’m tapping my toe and banging my head within 20 seconds. Welcome to Empty Nest by Greek “Space Psychedelic Stoner Heavy” rock/metal act Grande Fox. It’s dirty, it’s sludgy, and it’s great!
Jim covered their Band of the Day last year so had the first hit of their music. As a result, I was caught blindsided by Empty Nest. If I didn’t know they were from Thessaloniki I would have assumed they were grinding out this groovy stoner riffage from somewhere near Texas. They’ve absolutely nailed the sound and every song just envelopes you. That’s not to say they sound the same. There’s a wealth of influences at play, from the creepy clean guitars in “Deathblow” to the near-rap vocals in “Rottenness of Youth” via the utterly trippy “Brainstorm” (definitely the most off-kilter song on the album), Grande Fox are a band who aren’t afraid to throw in a curveball now and again.
What each song does have in common, though, is a driving rhythm. Some are more downtuned than others (“Overdose”, for example), but the one constant is catchiness. Oh, and good musicianship. The guitars crunch and wail, but the lazy style of the music never makes them sound sloppy. Laid back, yes, but… casual.
The more experimental numbers (“Brainstorm” and “Brutal Colours”) are sandwiched in the middle of the album, surrounded by a bunch of very accessible, hard rocking numbers. Closer “Birth of an Embryo” is actually a pretty good way to end as well. It’s a mixture of the familiar and the psychedelic, and sums up what are essentially both ends of the band’s scale of music.
A nice mix of the familiar and the more experimental, but all wrapped up in gritty rock sounds.
Empty Nest is out now