Serendipity does exist, playing music randomly a track from Groanbox started and I thought I’ve not heard of them recently no albums, no tours! I went to google to find out what had happened to the band that are encapsulated in the word quirky as they bend and shape roots music from Britain and Africa into a percussive modern shape. Actually never got to Google as in the inbox was a digital download of their self-titled album they are back with a vengeance this is music that creates a mood landscape through notes, clicks, words and so much more.
The album was recorded over two sessions in two countries and years apart, stage one in Ontario 2013 and the final in 2015 in New Orleans. Groanbox re-shape the visual experience into an aural tapestry it is a decoupage of sounds layers and layers creating a tonal poem. The inspiration for the music lies in the instruments and insects of the shack in rural Ontario, the destruction of the cabin rumored to be Al Capone’s hide-away then they explored the underground caves of Bonnechere and found the drips, echoes and screeches that was the background sound. That is the foundation of the tracks it was New Orleans influences that added the words and melodies as the city’s cultural heritage oozed into the shape of the music. This is freeform roots, intuitive there is no pre-planning like a river in full flood you have to follow the music where it takes you and on this 10th anniversary album it takes you to your musical imagination. Everyone will build a different picture as the tonal poetry evokes personal emotions and memories.
The fourpiece is joined by guests on a couple of tracks; but it is the depth and complexity of sounds that the four produce that defies dissection as they merge and meld into one organic body, nothing is dominant and everything is there for a reason. This is music full of form and shape there is nothing out of control but free from constraints of rehearsed construction.
The album opens with Graveyard of Pines, the mix of tonal sounds high pitch and deep draw you in, there is a percussive melancholy that fits the title, this catches your ear and imagination and you want to hear the next eleven tracks. The third track has an industrial feel with clinks of glass, breaking glass Deep Tree Diving is modernity it is a de-construction of music with lyrics that tell the tale and it intrigues your senses and intelligence on many levels. Every track has its own style and The Root Will Split The Rock is roots music that explores the psyche of French influences of the music of Louisiana with the squeeze box shaping the music and there is a feeling of dance to the melodies. There had to be a track based on Katrina opening with a jaunty squeeze box and is about a girl not a hurricane and has a lightness of touch. Closing with Adios Plato, the tonal poetry is complete the music has taken you on a journey of exploration and this is an album to be returned to because every time you listen a different cadence and mood will appear. Groanbox is in a sentence musical artistry rooted in the past and reaching out to the future.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
Groanbox – Independent – Release Date 7th July 2015
1. Graveyard Of Pines
2. Demon Truck
3. Deep Tree Diving
4. The Face You Deserve
5. Barefoot In The Ninth
6. Orchestrated Entropy
7. The Root Will Split The Rock
8. Wolfe Ridge
9. Marshdale Loons
11. Adios Plato
Plus: Track 4 Yulene Velasquez (Vocals) and Track 10 Kenneth Terry (Trumpet)