Sebastien Grainger – Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains Review

sebastien grainger and the mountains

For those out there who had hoped Sebastien Grainger’s next project would be You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine II, Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains is a disappointment of sorts. The nihilistic, frenzy-inducing punk rock that vaulted Grainger to fame is sparse on this record. However, those hoping he would make a great album should not be let down. Grainger combines melody with energy and a thorough self-examination to create one of the year’s best rock albums. You will still need a towel and an extra shirt after a show, but this time you can skip the hospital bill.

Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains is Canadian rocker Sebastien Grainger’s mature response to the whirlwind romance that was Death from Above 1979. While DFA 1979 bassist Jesse F. Keeler decided to go loud and electronic with MSTRKRFT, Grainger sat in his living room at home and recorded some tracks in 2006 that would be the inspiration for his first solo venture.

The songs don’t have the same simplicity and rough feel as DFA 1979, but the same kind of raw energy and power is present throughout the record. Instead of wailing into the microphone and pounding on the drums, Grainger’s talent and passion shine through his vocal delivery. The main subject of Grainger’s laments is still deferential love, but he has matured from screaming to singing. Old habits still make it through into tracks like “Niagara”, a minute and a half long primal therapy session reminiscent of Lennon’s screams on Plastic Ono Band. While he still has a penchant for screaming, most of the vocals are intricately layered over the strong melodies provided by his backing band.

Grainger applied for a grant from the Canadian government to shoot a video for his first single, “American Names”, and was rejected. The American Names EP was released digitally by Saddle Creek Records to generally good critical reviews. In a recent interview Grainger explained that, “They [The Canadian government] don’t roll the dice. They put all of their money in the Nickleback basket.”

This record represents a switch from the self-destructive to the introspective. It is a journey through the mind of a man who has just hit an immovable barrier in his life. Unsatisfied, he examines his friends (“I Hate My Friends”), his lovers (“Love Is Not a Contest”), and even future generations (“American Names”). No lucid conclusion is reached, which leaves Grainger an open future and musical landscape to sculpt however he pleases. For now, roll the dice on this one and you won’t be disappointed.

Saddle Creek Records Store

~ by masterodisaster on February 13, 2009.

One Response to “Sebastien Grainger – Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains Review”

  1. seems like i read this before….but i enjoyed it both times.

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