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splendid > reviews > 10/31/2005
New Grenada
New Grenada
Parting Shots
Asaurus


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Why I Didn't Like August '93"

Buy me now
New Grenada make a reasonably strong case for taking pleasure in the low-hanging fruits of indie rock, but they don't do much to persuade us to choose their music in particular. The slacker-rock-plus-Nintendo-synths formula is pretty well worn by now, but that isn't the biggest problem; it's the stale drum machine programming that hurts the band most. Andy Roy, who apparently programmed the drums, isn't even a member of the band -- he's credited separately, like a producer or the guy who goes on donut runs. Considering how little non-drum-machine-related stuff goes on in New Grenada's songs, this is rather puzzling. An actual drummer would do them a lot of good.

New Grenada's main point of demarcation from the average slacker rock band is a sort of toothless mean-spiritedness that pervades the appropriately titled Parting Shots. "Into the Ground" makes fun of an unnamed band for being lame and having stupid fans, but it does so with such a mild temperament that even if you're a member of the band in question, their insults would be easily counterbalanced by the knowledge that they went to the trouble of writing a song about you. Occasional attempts at genuine emotion -- such as "Just Inside a Week"'s disaffected, almost somber vocals and matching melodies -- come off as sarcastic or contrived in this snarky but harmless context.

There are brief and tantalizing glimmers of something more -- playful synth burbles, vocalist John Nelson's attempts to hit the notes the song calls for, and guitar melodies that require actual memorization. These things surface briefly but regularly throughout Parting Shots, clearly demonstrating that New Grenada could be a lot more interesting if they were willing to roll up their sleeves and dig in.



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