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Giant Brain: Grade A Gray Day

I am so glad to become acquainted with Giant Brain’s last studio album titled Grade A Gray Day. The Detroit band formed around 2007 around the core trio of Andy Sutton, Philip Dürr, and Al Sutton. With added guests, Giant Brain has released three albums:

Plume (2007)
Thorn Of Thrones (2009)
Grade A Gray Day (2023)

As you can see there is a considerable break between albums two and three. In 2019 Philip Dürr tragically passed away (RIP) in the middle of recording Grade A Gray Day. In the midst of sorrow, the band decided to carry on recording and with the help of a few guests, this album acts as a fitting tribute to Dürr. As it stands this will be the band’s last album. As a reviewer these albums are always bittersweet and although I was unfamiliar with the band, after listening to the new platter a few times I have to say this is right in my wheelhouse.

The band touches on kraut, psychedelic, blues, and space rock in a most outstandingly trippy way beginning with “Munich”, starting with a weird set of percussion and synths before the groove settles in. The minor key guitar riffs get heavier and break out into a cool chord progression. The trippiness unfolds with psychedelics worked in having a near hypnotizing effect. The ensuing guitar solo has some nice layering effects and speaker separation. Sounds really cool on headphones. The ending is pure space rock. “Terminator (Where An Astronaut Dies In Space)” starts with squelching guitar and a driving beat, it's psychedelic rock with bluesy undertones. The weird talk box vocals fit right into the band’s kraut/psych leanings. It’s a strange sound but really catchy as well, something not all bands are able to achieve. The guitar work, especially during the last couple minutes, is excellent. Layers of synths and cosmic effects form “The Variac (His Consciousness Reawakens)”, another spacey tune, followed by “Fore (Rage At The Cruelty Of Forced Transhumanism)”, a groove heavy rocker showcasing the bands prowess at sound manipulation and blistering guitar solos.

Grade A Gray Day is an excellent slice of space rock/psych that I think many of our readers will enjoy immensely. Please, do yourself a favour and give this one a listen. It is absolutely outstanding!

A Small Stone Records’ release.

Band members:
Philip Dürr (guitars, bass)
Andy Sutton (bass, vocals)
Eric Hoegemeyer (drums, keys, programming, synths)
Al Sutton (percussion, programming, keys)
Additional musicians:
Joanne Shaw Taylor (guitars on tracks 1 and 4)
Billy Reedy (guitar on tracks 2 and 5)
Jim Simonson (bass on track 2)
Bob Ebeling (wine glasses on track 3, drums on track 5)
Darrel Eubank (vocals on track 3)
Scott Hamilton (guitar on track 5)
Sue Lott (vocals on track 6)
Ken Tudrick (piano on track 6)

Track Listing:
1. Munich (8:36)
2. Terminator (Where An Astronaut Dies In Space) (8:28)
3. The Variac (His Consciousness Reawakens) (3:40)
4. Fore (Rage At the Cruelty Of Forced Transhumanism) (6:51)
5. Systems Failure (Uprising, Destruction, And The Escape) (6:22)
6. Between Trains (7:19)

Added: February 23rd 2024
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 262
Language: english

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