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

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Godsticks - Spiral Vendetta – Beginning with the obvious, Darran Charles, Godsticks' singer and principal songwriter, wants to be Adrian Belew. His high tenor perfectly mimics those eccentric, fluid melodies with emphasis through...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues