If I may recommend this album to a particular demographic, it would behoove older dudes in bands to check this out, at least to see what can still be accomplished with the corpse of blues rock. See, everyone has an older coworker or dad or whatnot who stares achingly at his Les Paul Sunburst while waxing nostalgic about Pat Travers, 38 Special, Rick Derringer, or any other dust-grimed post-Zeppelin also-ran from when dinosaurs ruled the hockey arenas. With a bare smattering of electro and no singer, Grails points to the exact spot on the musical map older dudes should explore, where the subtlest hint of hipster irreverence makes all the difference. For the most part it’s recognizable stuff, subtle prog-rock with a blues slant, their more-than-adequate drummer making a world of difference over bands like Pelican, who, like Grails, have no singer at all. This lot are in a tough situation, though, too cool to be pegged as hick throwbacks and too progressive for ringtones, and so they’re making their own way, being thrown on tours opening for Boris (who are much louder) and Silver Apples (way more ’60s-ish). If you’re into penny stocks, there’s actual potential here for a next-gen blues-based arena-rock rebirth here, free of all the despicable Guitar World posturing of the past.
—Eric W. Saeger