Started in 2015, GRIEVE THE ASTRONAUT is Raymond Hayden (Piano, Lead Vocals), Calissa Knox (2nd Piano, Synth, Backing Vocals), Ben Beman (Bass), Taylor Enloe (Guitar) and Mike Burt (Drums, Backing Vocals). What remains so strong about the band’s self-titled album is that each piece is archetypal. Each is the definitive version of itself. From the virtuosic “Hands Of A Child” to the introspective instrumental “Loss Of Innocence” to the theatrical “Red Door To Nowhere” and the fairy-tale-with-a-message “Lights”, all the music is strange, new and familiar at the same time. You may think you’ve heard it before and elsewhere, but until this recording came along, you haven’t.
Perhaps it is simply the their way of combining all the organic and electronic influences at this particular moment in music, but GRIEVE THE ASTRONAUT come out with what may be the only truly unique, complete and coherent genre-free albums of the year 2016.
It’s one of those records where every note is in place, every inflection is absolutely right and all of it will stand the test of time for decades to come at least. It perfectly captures a singular, important moment in modern music.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard clearer vocals on my system this year either – how the hell did these guys record this album so well. On my rig, sibilants are outstanding, smooth as silk and not harsh at all – it is a warmly, but brightly-mixed album, and your speakers’ high end had better be up to the challenge when the smash those cymbals on “A Million Hands” in the soaring parts.
The sound-stage is also a mile wide and just when I thought I knew every musical nuance of this album, on the third listen-through, I found myself hearing further back, into “Mystic Rhythm” and “No Surprise” than ever before – stunning.
GRIEVE THE ASTRONAUT have smashed the walls of genres and styles apart, crossed through and built totally new worlds of music that are so invitingly new, so fresh that nobody at this point is even close on their heels.
Classic music lovers to progressive rock aficionados will wallow in the powerful piano-driven arrangements, the uplifting chord progressions, as well as the layered melodic and harmonic structures. This is music you do not simply listen to, but you actually succumb to.
There are two good ways to experience this sensation. One is with headsets, and they need to be good and capable of handling enough power. The other way which I prefer, is to get in the middle of a high quality speaker system that can once again handle power.
You need to be able to clear your mind. Failing to do this means you don’t really hear it. Get the EQ right on your system, turn up the track “Twilight”, and you will feel the power of its purity quiver through your entire body.
I grew up listening to classical, progressive rock and jazz fusion, and in my modest opinion GRIEVE THE ASTRONAUT is the best thing that ever happened to the world of music in 2016. And it is not because of their musical virtuosity, performing prowess or composing genius. It is quite simply their plenary vision of music which is devastatingly gorgeous!
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