For four of guys from Sydney, a few tunes have taken The Griswolds a long way. 'Heart Of A Lion' and 'The Courtship Of Summer Preasley' have brought big success for the band in the U.S. and Europe, and has led to extensive touring of both regions. So the next step? Expanding their repertoire, through the release of their first album, 'Be Impressive'.
The LP's length has allowed The Griswolds to embellish their youthful sound, keeping the music lively and the mood enthusiastic. There seems to have been plenty of inspiration drawn from the 80s, from the Bon Jovi-esque opening track '16 Years' to the synth beats of 'If You Wanna Stay'. It's also worth noting there's a definite language warning on the album; despite its upbeat façade, there's more uses of the word "fuck" than any other indie pop/rock album I've heard in a long while - but then, I guess that's Aussie musicians for you.
The first half of the album stays strong. 'Beware The Dog' is easily one of the most addictive songs in the mix - a great first single from the boys, showcasing the energy we've come to know from The Griswolds. Its summery guitar vibe, matched with some vengeful lyrics, make this song a real powerhouse; I dare you not to sing along to the chorus.
THE GRISWOLDS - BEWARE THE DOG
There's plenty of other highlights to enjoy. 'Right On Track' features raucous drums that pierce the song, as the title is sung boisterously throughout. That deep synth backing of 'If You Wanna Stay' is juxtaposed with a joyous chorus featuring a bouncy piano and some of The Griswolds' gratifying vocals in unison.
The band appear to have hired a choir of schoolkids for a few tracks throughout the album; they pop up in 'Down And Out' and 'Be Impressive'. The former of the two - in spite of its title - exuberantly intertwines the rallying cries with the aforementioned 80s synth and rebellious rock guitar riffs.
Even as the album begins its inevitably fizzle towards the end, the tunes are all fairly harmless fun. There's some potentially blatant U.S. fan bribery in the track 'America'. The lyrics of 'Thread The Needle' pay homage to days gone by - more specifically, an nostalgic attachment to the year 1995, invoking memories of Reeboks and Nirvana.
The Griswolds are an absolute bulldozer of upbeat tunes. At the very least, they know how to put together a spirited song. At best, they'll leave you with tunes you'll unexpectedly find yourself humming to. So if you're up for music that doesn't take itself too seriously that will leave you with a smile, give 'Be Impressive' a spin.
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