The Griswolds – Be Impressive Album Review
The addictive lead single, “Beware The Dog,” just might be the defining song of the Summer of 2014. I couldn’t stop playing the catchy tune, typically at max volume, and for months, anxiously awaited the release of this album.
In late August, Australian indie rockers, The Griswolds, released their debut full-length, Be Impressive on Wind-Up Records. The album is a diverse offering showcasing the band’s considerable talent and musical breadth, but I’m not sure it was as impressive as I had hoped. Listening to the cozy harmonies and nicely layered music, I was drawn to comparisons of The Mowgli’s and Fitz & The Tantrums, and for good reason, as the album was produced by Tony Hoffer, best known for his work with the latter.
For fans of “Beware The Dog,” you’ll find a few similar tracks with the same raw, bouncy energy, but nothing quite as captivating. “Right On Track,” powered by Lachlan West’s keyboards offers a tropical St. Lucia feel to it, but boasts more dynamic vocals from Christopher Whitehall; at some point in time, we’ll hear it on Alt-Rock radio. “If You Wanna Stay,” is a strong offering cut from the same cloth. “America” was another captivating track, and one that actually reminded me longingly of old school Men At Work. For all of these tracks, they sound bigger, better and more full with the volume cranked up.
The strength of this album are actually the slower offerings. “Aurora Borealis” features captivating vocals from Whitehall and superb harmonies. The guitar is fantastic, if under-stated a bit, and the lyrics touching. It’s an excellent track, and one that I believe features a xylophone solo towards the close! But my favorite discovery on the album was the violin-driven “Thread The Needle.” Whitehall’s vocals are tender and inviting, and the stark arrangement morphs into an exquisitely arranged, nostalgic rock anthem. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece.
On the flip side, I have to share that I just hated the title track. “Be Impressive” starts with a cute play on words with the old “Be Aggressive” football cheer. It’s corny, sophomoric, and sadly the best part of the song. Fortunately, it is one of the few weak offerings on the album, and is far overshadowed by the many strong cuts.
Check out or purchase the album below, and make sure not to miss these guys live, as they put on a killer live show (as reflected in this The Griswold’s Show Review.