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Grok — Bubbles
((Not on label) no#, 1997, CD)

by Steve Robey, Published 1999-01-01

Bubbles Cover art

Grok is a rather interesting product of the ever-interesting New Zealand music scene. My first reaction to this album was that it reminded me of Sonic Youth (one of my all time favorite bands), but not in the same way as such bands usually do. Most bands will appropriate Sonic's wall of feedback guitar (Live Skull is a good example) and explore the realms of noise, but Grok seems more in touch with more recent Sonic material: slowly bubbling tension grooves with oddly tuned guitars that threaten to freak out but rarely do. That is not to say this is a Sonic Youth clone; it's just the closest reference point I could find to describe this atypical brand of progressive rock. In fact, if you take Sonic Youth's latest album A Thousand Leaves, add a few keyboards and other prog elements, and take away some of the punkish edge, you would have something pretty close to Grok. It's a good long album, too; close to 60 minutes, with all track names either containing the word “Grok” or containing a time of day (ie., “Grok One,” “New Grok Two,” “8:20 18/02/97,” and so on). There's a fair amount of variety among the pieces too, although the avant-chug-drone is definitely prevalent. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 16, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Grok

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