This album receives an 8/10. It has the New Mexico sound and the excitement that comes from anticipation. I am unfamiliar with New Mexico Breweries, and that needs to change. With all the great things New Mexico has given us I am confident that their beers are exciting in a subtle way that creeps up on you. I would very much like to compare this album to a New Mexico beer but I would be out of my depth, so for now this album is a Double Bock. Toasty Malt flavors but with that high alcohol content and those hidden chocolaty notes it is sure to pack a subtle punch. Cheers to Grogan, and Cheers to New Mexico!
Remember that you read it here first. I am coining the term “New Mexican Siesta Fiesta.” I’ll explain. New Mexico has gifted us, Beruit, The Shins, the backdrop for Breaking Bad, New Mexico Chilies, George R.R. Martin, and Guy Grogan. What do all these things have in common besides New Mexico? They are all volcanoes.
Ok. I’ll stop with the wizardly riddle speak. New Mexico for the past few years has been giving us these aforementioned things that on the surface seem predictable, or familiar, with this underlying energy that you can sense. For example The Song of Ice and Fire series on the surface seems to be a pretty standard fantasy series, but no. There are hundreds of underlying plot themes and characters that you know upon the series’ conclusion will explode into a magnificent resolution.
Breaking bad is the same way. It is not just another crime show, it is a slow burn that keeps you on the edge of your seat with anticipation.
The Chilies? They have that subtle smoky aroma and flavor that packs a late punch.
The music is no different. Grogan sounds like a typical Indy Garage rocker, but only initially. The songs go on to reveal this energy that is pulsing under a deceptive surface. It is a siesta because there is that element of familiarity, but there is a fiesta going on at the same time which gives Grogan’s music that distinctly New Mexican sound.
Grogan has been involved in music since he was in high school. He became formally trained in music at the University of Memphis. It is instantly apparent that Grogan has a grasp on the workings of what makes music that sounds good.
I really do not have any other artists to compare Grogan to. Even though Grogan has the New Mexico sound I do not think he sounds like Beruit, or the Shins. Each of these bands have the volcano effect, but sound distinctly different.
What sets Grogan apart are his vocals. The music is not terribly different from other garage rock groups which Grogan is often compared to. The simple power riffs, and song structure are not unique, but the vocals are what drive his music.
The opening track, Anatomy Of A Crush, Has a vocalization that is reminiscent of rockabilly. Grogan sings deep and throaty which give this track a uniqueness that recalls artists like Elvis and Buddy Holly. It is creative, and well executed. Distinctly different from anything I have heard in a while.
Stick The Landing gives us almost a crooner sort of sound. There is also the added whininess (not in a bad way) that we get a lot of with the post grunge bands like Weezer or Death Cab for Cutie. The contrast in vocalization from Anatomy of a Crush shows the control Grogan has over his vocals.
Myself Away Is a really good characterization of the Siesta Fiesta. All the songs on this album have it, but Myself Away characterizes this the best. You can really sense the energy that Grogan is putting out in this song.
House For The Leaving is a slower arpeggio song. It features a nice guitar solo that sounds distinctly southwest. A good homage to New Mexico. Grogan sings in a softer more relaxed way. Despite the slower pace and sentimental feel, the song does not lack that underlying energy.
For the sake of self-preservation, and not sounding redundant, I am going to jump around a bit and skip some songs. The ones I skip are not bad in any way, and they deserve praise and your listening ears. it is just that all I have to comment on them will be in relation to how well Grogan can maximize his vocal utility, and the Siesta Fiesta.
That being said, this is a really tight album. It is well produced, and you can tell that Grogan put a lot of work into making sure that the songs are good. I think that often times artists get sloppy and have to meet a quota and they do not have anything so they throw together a song and slap it on the album hoping it will go unnoticed. I do not get the sense that Grogan has done this. You can tell that he takes pride in his music, and music in general. His songs play homage to different styles of music and to his home state.
Conclusion: Grogan has a distinct yet familiar sound that should appeal to most people. He is a volcano. The lava is brimming over the edge.
Give the album a listen to here. remember to buy it if you like it.