THE GRAND UNDOING – In A Vigil State

Secret Candy Rock 2020

THE GRAND UNDOING –
In A Vigil State

Boston-based bastion of daydreaming protects pop-reality from being marred by nightmares.

“If there ever was a heaven that goes to eleven / That it must be now”: this line from Seth Goodman’s fourth record may seem to contradict its cover that looks like a commentary on the current state of concert business, but the album’s been gestating for a few years before the release, so there’s a sense bliss, rather than desolation, smeared over the ten tracks on display. Of course, sadness is there, too, as well as a sparkling abandon, to add contrast to the songs’ orchestral grandeur which has sweet fatigue of opener “Into The Glitter” and finale “Giving All My Things Away” compromised by the constant melodic movement. Here’s a natural flow everyone can relate to nowadays, yet twists and turns help the listener keep their perspective fresh.

With Goodman’s voice striving for triumph and instantly recognizable B.J. Cole’s pedal steel anchoring the ensemble’s flight to a riff-laden terra firma on a few numbers, it’s tempting to see a full vista – only pure pop cuts like “Sunsetter” or “A Little Piece Of Ground” make a point of focusing on a groovy, rock ‘n’ roll detail and let the vague whole stew for some time and reveal the entire thematic picture once there’s nothing left to revel in. Still, it’s nigh on impossible to resist the hymnal wonder of “Highway (You Can Ride Away)” whose countrified rise – fueled by Seth’s guitar passages – spiritually liberating, while the vocal polyphony and psychedelic strings on “Darkness” evoke the ’60s innocent simplicity. As a result, joining in on the chorus of the bass-propelled “Step In” will be easy – so much for a vigil state, because what we have today has to pass, whereas these songs should stay with us.

****1/4

September 4, 2020

Category(s): Reviews
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