Album Review: Grooms – Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair

grooms2011

Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair is the fourth album from Brooklyn indie band Grooms. Despite the tone of sullen, depressing hopelessness in their last three albums, this one is the spark of something fresh and enticing. It sounds like a brand new outlook on their sound; one that seems to be the very epitome of personal redemption. While this album did come out some time ago, I chose to review this album now because I keep finding myself going back to the title track due to it’s unassuming tenacity.

Many of the tracks on this album have ambient, synth propelled overtones – and with each listen, it seems to have an electrifying, dizzying effect. Opener “Bed Version” presents itself in such a way that it’s easy for the listener to jump in at any given time. The beats swerve and collide to create this atmospheric tension that continues on into the intense, guitar fueled outro, and the build-up makes it totally worth the wait. Title track “Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair” is in a wonderfully juvenile borderline post-punk and shoegaze style, making it so that a somewhat passionate, yet deadpan vocal takes emphasis over a fire-blazoned instrumental track. It’s pop without being pop; the way that Grooms manages to get away with the catchiness of this track is nothing short of extraordinary. Vocals are an entity on this album, as it spans every style from slight murmurs to half-screaming. Tracks like “Cross Off” and “Half Cloud” explore the slower, murmuring side, and both have an eerie, yet nostalgic feeling to it, which is irresistible. Of course, this album does have it’s moments of slight redundancy. The constant dissonant tones can grind on the listener at times, and there is the fact that in most of the tracks, like “Something Wild,” for instance, it starts in one place and ends up somewhere completely new, making it difficult to follow along. Despite those downsides, the stand out tracks save it somewhat. The dissonance of the dreamy tune “Will the Boys” actually works in the album’s favor, and emphasizes the style of shoegaze that it takes even more. It has it’s sniveling sides as well, like in “Grenadine Scene from Inside” and “Foster Sister,” and wraps up the album on a highly impressive note.

Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair deserves a few listens to accurately describe it’s specific persona, but I feel like it’s heavily focused on portraying newer, more intellectual feelings and does a great job of doing so. While the constant instrumental focus can be a bit draining at times compared to the vocals, it’s still evidence of a desire to forgo the constant feelings of resentment and negativity, which is a lovely little contradiction.

7.8/10

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photo courtesy of the artist
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