Exit Music Review SectionMusic Review Navigation Menu
Back Porch Music

Willard Grant Conspiracy
(Ryko/Slow River)

Take parts of Lambchop and mix them with bits of Lullaby For The Working Class' I Never Even Asked For Light, then add a little more of a mainstream sound and you may have something kind of like the Williard Grant Conspiracy. It's lazy, weekend music for when the sun is slowly going down and you're sitting outside in a chair enjoying the warm night and listening to the ever-increasing sounds of crickets. Like the other groups mentioned above, WGC is a multi, multi-instrumentalist group with a nearly ever-rotating lineup of people that play piano, banjo, violin, viola, guitar, bass, drums, and even a couple other instruments thrown in for good measure.

Also like the bands mentioned above, much of the music by WGC has a bit of a western influence on it, though never in a way that is overbearing. Instead, the release has a sort of unhurried (except for one track, but I'll get to that in a moment) feel and great vocals (sometimes in a two or more part harmony) that are easy to identify with on the first listen.

The album starts out on sort of a dreary note with the southern-gothic sounds of "Another Lonely Night." With two different guitars playing, as well as a mandolin and bass (all acoustic), the track forgoes drums, but is a nice, stripped-down opener to the disc. After some steel guitar twang on the more upbeat "Color Of The Sun," the disc slows down quite a bit again with "The Work Song." As most people can relate to, it sounds like it was written to be listened to after a long week at the grind. It's meandering and begs relaxation.

The strangest track on the entire disc title definitely goes to "Go Jimmy Go." Located nearly right in the middle of the album of slower, more introspective tracks, it sounds like something that could be an out-take from a bad hard rock group. With screamed vocals and amped-up instruments, the track fortunately only lasts just 2 minutes, but it still manages to throw a big wrench into the flow of the disc.

Fortunately, the group goes back to its more traditional sound on the next track, and the second half of the album is even better than the first with tracks like the awesome "Cat Nap In The Boom Boom Room" and the very pretty two-part vocals of "I Miss You Best." The album closes out with the long, steady progression of "The Visitor" and ends on a very strong note with some of the best instrumentation on the album. Overall, if you like either of above mentioned artists, or like multi-instrumental groups with a tinge of a western and a laid-back feel to them, you'll probably enjoy Mojave.

Rating: 7