Reviews

Sebastian Grainger and the Mountains

01/05/2009 | Duluth News Tribune | www.duluthnewstribune.com | Feature
Remember this name: Sebastien Grainger
Looking beyond Minnesota talent, "Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains" is one Canadian release you'll want to spend some time with in the new year.
It's the full-length solo debut from Grainger, who indie kids will probably recognize from the dynamic dance-punk duo Death From Above 1979 (dead as of '06, in case you were wondering).
While I can't say I'm too familiar with that group - or its lone long-player, "You're a Woman, I'm a Machine" - I know what I like, and "The Mountains" is sure it.
Grainger's album kicks off terrifically with the frenetic "Love Can Be So Mean," followed immediately by the just-as-full-of-nervous-energy "Who Do We Care For?" After listening to these two singles-in-waiting back to back, a divine truth emerges: This guy's new aesthetic is nearly indistinguishable from that of Hot Hot Heat, one of my favorite hyper-hypo bands.
Whether or not Grainger set out to replicate his fellow countrymen's sound, no one knows, but it's really a moot point: He knows what sounds good, and just because elements of this record tread on heavily trampled territory doesn't mean it's not a worthy listen.
Besides, it's not as if everything here sounds like the sequel to "Make Up the Breakdown." Grainger incorporates some really nice sounds throughout; from the post-punk sheen of "By Cover of Night (Fire Fight)" (Pixies fans will find much to love here) to the danceable, Doors-y groove of "Renegade Silence,"* there's a lot of different sounds that reveal Grainger's highly refined tastes.
And, thankfully for the record-buying public, even when he's not breaking new ground, Grainger's still crafting records with pulsating, kinetic numbers that you'll want to pump on your stereo at the maximum level.
Turn it on, tune in and, for heaven's sake, those police officers knocking loudly on your front door most likely have the wrong house. Yeah, pretending is fun....

*Which, strangely enough, features the Rhythm Method, one of Grainger's music aliases. So, in effect, he's guesting on his own album.

"Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains" is out now. Check out www.saddle-creek.com for free MP3 downloads of "American Names" and "By Cover of Night (Fire Fight)."