Saturday, March 23, 2013


It always felt like The Grapes Of Wrath left the scene too early.  Maybe bigger and better things might not have happened, but it seemed like there was more music that could come out of them.  The band had solidified into a tight unit that could put out a string of 3-minute gems, bright and shiny and sweet, 70's pop for a 90's audience.

So let's be happy that the trio of Kevin Kane, Tom Hooper and Chris Hooper have put it back together, in a natural way, for the first time since 1992.  The reunion has been developing slowly, and hype-free (it's Canada, after all), after a 2010 stage appearance, and then a serious return to writing and recording.  Make note of what's not there; this wasn't an attempt to grab some cash with live shows, and a forced album to follow.  Instead, they decided if they were a band again, they should be making solid new music.

That's the very good news here, as this is a solid, well-made and performed album full of strong new songs.  Everybody is back with their A-games, and for TGOW that means great melodies, lots of harmonies, smart chord and key changes, memorable choruses and thoughtful lyrics.  Smart stuff that fans of the old idea of three-minute hit singles will enjoy.  I'm Lost (I Miss You) comes across as a missing 10 CC gem.  Make It OK is a White Album-style rocker.  Lead single Good To See You, first issued last fall as a new addition for the group's Singles compilation, is pure jangly nostalgia, light and breezy.  There's actually a lot of sunshine pop here, albeit with a distinctive Canadian flare at times.  Mexico is the song for those with winter depression, the lyrics about leaving the snow and three months of darkness and heading to Cancun.

Beloved by their fans, especially way out in their B.C. homeland, The Grapes Of Wrath hasn't received enough acclaim in the twenty years since their last album.  Hopefully, this remind everybody that together, they make some of the best-sounding music no matter the decade.

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