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Grand Undoing, The: In A Vigil State

Here is another one of those artists that has completely gone under the radar at sans Neudorf listening room. His name is Seth Goodman and leads his band The Grand Undoing. He started releasing albums in 2011 and has recently put out his fourth titled In A Vigil State.

In A Vigil State is near pop music perfection. And when I say pop music don’t let that leave a negative connotation, this is very well done and in fact quite artful and even proggy in spots. The first track “Into The Glitter” features slowly drifting guitar chords and textures, quite a calming vibe which picks up a little during the chorus. Goodman has a unique voice and although not technically perfect (who wants that anyway), very true and from the heart. Next is the more lively “A Little Piece Of Ground” reminding a little of both Elvis Costello and XTC. In my book that’s a very good thing indeed. With “Highway (You Can Ride Away)” the acoustic strums and tasty electric runs have a psychedelic feel with the lead vocals sounding quite Bowie-esque. Again, the comparison is very much complimentary. “Wave” is more in the power pop vein, lots of catchy riffs and tasty vocals, both lead and backing. More highlights include the quirky ballad “See All I See” and the slightly off kilter pop of “Darkness” with another nod to XTC.

What a nice surprise In A Vigil State has been. Intelligent pop music that effects the soul as much as the mind. Highly recommended

A Secret Candy Rock Records release.

The Players:
Seth Goodman (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards)
Dave Westner (bass on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, keys on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6-10, drums on tracks 4, 5, percussion on tracks 1-10)
Ted Powers (background vocals on tracks 1-4, 6-8, 10, keys on track 2, guitar on track 2)
Andy Plaisted (drums on tracks 1-3, 6-10)
Chris Coughlin (keys on tracks 1, 3, 4, 7, 8)
Dana Colley (saxophones on track 4)
Chris Nole (keys on track 10)
Tom Heneberry (guitar on tracks 4, 8, and 9)
BJ Cole (pedal steel on tracks 1, 3, and 4)

Appeasing The Sick (2011)
White Space Flavors and Parties On TV (2014)
Sparks Rain Down From The Lights Of Love (2016)
In A Vigil State (2020)

Track Listing:
1. Into The Glitter (5:18)
2. A Little Piece Of Ground (2:36)
3. Highway (You Can Ride Away) (4:32)
4. Wave (4:38)
5. See All I See (3:04)
6. Darkness (4:03)
7. Sunsetter (4:40)
8. Silver Songs (3:18)
9. Step In (3:14)
10. Giving All My Things Away (4:35)

Added: November 21st 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1297
Language: english

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Grand Undoing, The: In A Vigil State
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-11-21 17:29:14
My Score:

In A Vigil State is the fourth album from Bostonian Seth Goodman and the myriad of musicians he assembles around himself under the guise of The Grand Undoing. It’s a release that sits deep in moody melodies and slowly unwinding ideas, where the mainman sings, plays bass and guitar, while also adding much of the keyboards. However, with eight further musicians bolstering those areas already highlighted while adding a few more, this one man project actually relies on many hands to make the work as light as can be.

For me, the results are a little too light, with Goodman’s vocals lacking in the depth needed to truly capture my imagination, while the song structures - augmented by pedal steel, sax and layers of backing vocals as they are - simply glide by without much in the way of reason to dig in deep and pay attention. In fact, if truth be told, I personally found this quite a tough journey to complete on numerous occasions, with the gratingly airy atmosphere of clapping hands and clinging keyboards on “A Little Piece Of Ground” too twee by half.

It’s one of those unfortunate cases where undoubtedly well intentioned effort and ideas combine to make a sound that just leaves my colder than a plate of frozen fish shrouded in dry ice. The pace seldom seems to get over mid-paced meander and the vocals always feel languid and hollow on what I’m guessing are meant to be some uplifting melodies. Instead the whole shebang sets my nerves a jangling and patience heading towards breaking point.

This isn’t awful but it certainly isn’t for me and as such I can only point those who have enjoyed the previous work of The Grand Undoing to my esteemed colleague’s review above for an alternative and much more favourable view on an act that I’ll happily swerve in future.

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