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Album Review: The Golden Grass — Absolutely

Breaking free of their time capsule, The Golden Grass step out into the sunshine to provide groove rock that taps toes and swings hips. Shining optimism and high octane energy permeate the third release from Brooklyn-based retro rock power trio, who invoke an air of mystery by crediting themselves as Professor Plum Brandy on guitar & lead vocals, The Golden Goose on drums & lead vocals, and The Fireball on bass. Emerging from a crack in the dark and dreary scene of heavy music like a rainbow arching gracefully over a graveyard, The Golden Grass bestows a bright and cheerful proto-metal. In a heavy music scene where subject matter is generally dark both in lyrical themes and tonality, the classic rock-inclined group stand out with their bright and lighthearted songs.

The songwriting and delivery on this album are solid, energetic, and earnestly fun. The throwback dual rock vocals deliver songs about love and life, never straining and always encouraging listeners to sit back and let the good times roll. The guitar oscillates between riff rock, psychedelic licks, and fuzzy rhythm, adding interest to the otherwise simple song structures. The bass thumps along, bringing some serious funk into the mix, and the guitarist adeptly steps out of the way at several points to let the low end take center stage. The drum beat is usually an easy swing, but remains dynamic and engaging by adjusting the rhythmic emphasis mid song and applying fills liberally.

I cued the video up to “Out on the Road,” which is my favorite track, because it has a long instrumental section in it that showcases the band’s breadth of musicianship and contains some of the most engrossing musical themes on the album. “Runaway” is another stand out track, in part because the drums really drive the song forward from the beginning with a straight four beat rhythm and then transitions smoothly in and out of a swing beat while throwing in some assertive fills and plenty of crashes for good measure. The instrumental interlude on this track is varied, revolving through several sections that compose a collection of proto-metal phrases. Cue to 10:53 for that one.

Absolutely is a very approachable album, and it will appeal to listeners of all ages and many musical proclivities. There are some moments of heavy riff rock, but the songs are broken up quickly by either cheerful vocals, roaring guitar solos, or instrumental sections that take time to highlight each musician in turn. The parts never compete with each other, but are supportive and share the spotlight easily, reinforcing the album’s premise that life is a party, so take it easy and enjoy the ride.

With their high-spirited, swinging rock, The Golden Grass would be at home sharing a stage with Blue Cheer or opening for The Allman Brothers Band. Alas, their time travel has deposited them about fifty years removed from that scene. If your neck hurts from all those metal shows but you still want to move to some music, catching The Golden Grass live would surely be a blast — take a date and get down to some groovy jams together. Absolutely is also available for purchase on cassette, CD, or vinyl (limited yellow or orange crush) from Listenable Records, if you prefer to dance out your feelings in the privacy of your own home.

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