Exposé Online banner

Grails — Take Refuge in Clean Living
(Important Records imprec190, 2008, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2009-07-01

Take Refuge in Clean Living Cover artGrails are a band from Portland who have been recording and releasing music since 2003 and Take Refuge in Clean Living is their sixth release. The CD opens with “Stoned at the Taj Again,” a nod to Syd Barrett and Piper at the Gates of Dawn with its pseudo-Morse Code beeps. Then over the course of the five tracks the music develops into mind-numbing bass and drums overlaid by guitars. There are many shifts and turns in the music, from quiet electronics to massive percussive attacks! Along the way we encounter Manuel Göttsching-like sequenced guitar riffs and Ravi Shankar-like sitar jamming. The band is Emil Amos (synths, keyboards, guitars, tapes, vibes, vocals), Alex John Hall (guitars, samples), William Slater (bass, organ, harpsichord, harmonium, guitar, vocals), Zak Riles (guitars, feedback washes), and Ben Nugent (drums). Other reviewers have compared Grails to Hawkwind, Ennio Morricone, and Eno, which is quite a broad spectrum, though I don’t see the resemblance. In my opinion, these guys have studied at the master’s feet and created some amazing music that transcends Hawkwind, Eno, et. al. It is also wonderful to know that Space Rock is alive and well in the US after surviving so long in Europe. This spring Grails is on tour throughout Europe and sure to attract many more fans.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 37, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Grails

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hualun - Asian River – For their second release, this Wuhan post-rock crew has stepped up a few notches from their debut, Silver Daydream (reviewed in issue 38). They’ve moved to one of China’s most prominent...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues