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GRIM by Woolly Wolstenholme's Maestoso,
This review is from: Grim (Audio CD)
GRIM is the new CD from ex-Barclay James Harvest singer/songwriter/keyboard player Woolly Wolstenholme and his band. Woolly burst back onto the music scene after a two decade absence with the 2004 effort "One Drop in a Dry World" which although bursting with Wolstenholme's eccentric creativity and a couple of classic tracks, suffered from a couple of weak links. GRIM however, sees the power and pathos of "One Drop" captured in a much more consistent form, with bursts of tragedy, pity, bitterness, and humour too.
The album invites the listener to join Woolly in the dark and mysterious northern town of Grimroyd, where a variety of circumstances and characters are encountered. The brilliant "Through a storm" is gutsy, powerful, classicesque rock, in which some brilliant drumming lifts the song between sorrowful reflection at the past and anger at the present. Other stand-out moments include the beautiful Hebden Bridge, the tender but barbed "Love Is", the medaeival-ish "Harp and Carp" and the ludicrous insanity of "The Iceman Cometh". Beware of those icecream men!
Woolly was responsible for many of the most creative and unusual sounds that BJH produced during their first decade. His departure lead the Barclay's down a more commercially successful but yet increasingly artistically bland direction. Woolly may not own the name "BJH" but its authentic original spirit lives on here.
Even a cursory listen to GRIM will reveal why Wolstenholme was too restricted by the demands of a band with three songwriters. Mucially GRIM is nicely complex in that the clever arrangements are not overtly 'in your face' - but become apparent if you try and sing along, or harmonise. Rumour has it that some of the complex rhythms make would-be air-drummers look very silly. But ahem, er, I wouldn't know obviously!
GRIM is compelling. The best thing about this CD however, is that in an age of mass-processed musical junk-food where indistinguishableness is the watchword, GRIM is utterly unique!