Review – Gruntbucket, “Songs From An Empty Room”
by Mikki Michelle
As I’m listening to Songs From An Empty Room, I’m automatically transported to a strange yet brilliant place, sometime between the ’60s and the ’90s. A place where rock and roll is the way of life and getting in touch with nature is the norm. Gruntbucket’s second album, Songs was recorded in the Victorian bush by Ryan Nelson (guitarist for Dan Kelly and Sub Audible Hum, and engineer on recent albums from Kim Salmon) and mixed by Lindsay Gravina (Magic Dirt, Rowland S. Howard), which is possibly why I feel like I’m at a party full of rock-loving free-spirits, in a giant warehouse, way out in the middle of nowhere. Just music and nature.
So who are Gruntbucket? With Mikey Madden on guitar and vocals, Tim McCormack on bass and Dave Watkins on drums, Gruntbucket formed at the end of 2007 and have stuck solid on the Melbourne music scene. Songs From An Empty Room gives you an insight into Gruntbucket’s raw, outback edge, yet their soft and smooth undertones take you back to the elements of nature.
Now don’t get any ideas about Gruntbucket being just another “peace n love” folk group from the suburbs by my saying they seem to be in touch with nature. Far from it. From the opening track, Regrets, to the closing Wasting Time, the band creates melodies reminiscent of Jet with a touch of Lenny Kravitz charisma, with chunky guitar riffs that pull you in and make you want more.
Didn’t Leave A Trace and I Could Wait have the attitude of Oasis, with a ’90s groove and vocals that mirror Liam Gallagher (minus the annoying whine but with the conviction), while tracks like Cry Cry Cry and Broken Alone have a smooth, melodic flow as if the band is right in the room with me, telling their own raw and emotive stories.
Anchor has more a psychedelic funk feel than the heavy rock riffs present on the other tracks, starting with the drums, building to bass, and finally adding the off-beat guitar and flawlessly executed falsetto vocals. Of the whole album, the seductive and catchy I Want would probably be the most welcome track to mainstream radio.
Displaying rock with a heart, but still sounding like they know where they came from, Songs From An Empty Room demonstrates Gruntbucket’s rock evolution and delivers a CD that makes you want to listen from start to finish and showcases a band that is only going to get better.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.