Friday, May 10, 2013

The Shouting Matches: "Grownass Man" (album review)

We all know Justin Vernon from his main project Bon Iver.  Unlike Bon Iver, which seems purposely devised to rid you of your will to live, his latest group, The Shouting Matches, are actually listenable.  Their debut album, Grownass Man, was recently released.

Grownass Man is everything Bon Iver is not.  It's got energy, emotion, hooks, and excitement.  All things that are completely foreign in Vernon's main work.

The Shouting Matches are firmly grounded in terra firma.  The opener, "Avery Hill", is a traditional roots rock number.  A surprisingly soulful vocal delivery comes on the Americana tune "Gallup, MN".  Vernon gets downright gruff on the strong blues rocker "Heaven Knows".

We even get some enthusiastic rocking.  Organ squeals and cymbals crash on "Mother, When?".  Harmonica is the drive train that powers "Three Dollar Bill".  "Seven Sisters" is the catchiest tune, with a meaty hook.

The album standout is actually an instrumental number.  The track "Milkman" has a twangy groove that will have your head-bopping from note-one.

While there's nothing terribly groundbreaking about The Shouting Matches, it is refreshing to hear something ramshackle and earthy from Vernon.  Heck I'd take anything from him that doesn't make me want to fall into a coma.

Best tracks: "Milkman", "Heaven Knows"

Track listing for Grownass Man:
  • Avery Hill
  • Gallup, MN
  • Heaven Knows
  • Mother, When?
  • Seven Sisters
  • Milkman
  • New Theme
  • Three Dollar Bill
  • I'll Be True
  • I Need a Change

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