Opening with a nod to Syd Barret''s Pink Floyd (Piper at the Gates of Dawn) the record begins with morse code and drops into one of the heaviest slow-burn grooves in the Grails canon. Sounding something like Hawkwind and Ravi Shankar scoring Bladerunner, it''s lysergic and earthy for Grails in a new way. The rest of the record moves from blissful Eno-inspired ambience, to epic Morricone rock hymns, to an unexpected take on a Ventures tune that returns the listener back to the very beginnings of instrumental rock music. The touring incarnation of Grails in 2006 and 2007 included good friend and drummer Ben Nugent, allowing Emil Amos to switch to 3rd guitar for the band''s live instrumentation. The DNA of this ''guitar-dense'' line up allowed for new kinds of songs and bigger melodies. In early 2007, the then-5-piece entered Steven Lobdell''s (Faust) Audible Alchemy again to document the new songs written with this augmented sound - the resultant sessions make up the record ''Take Refuge in Clean Living''. (The group has since returned to the original 4 members.)
''Take Refuge in Clean Living''sees Grails pulling back their already-wide lens on multiple sonic horizons. Grails often take what seems like it would sound over-ambitious on paper and make it flow sonically in a laid-back style. The band is defined by exploration and they''ve created a template for themselves where any style or method can be ingested to reap legitimate rewards. ''Take Refuge'' seems to suggest that Grails can't run out of ideas.
released May 13, 2008
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