In Dreams and Other Stories
Ruffa Lane is a South East London indie label endeavouring to release material on their own terms. Grantura are one of their acts.
Some of their songs show their social conscience and with six contributors to the band’s sound, influences abound. The sound is acoustic/light electric with mandolin in the mix and steady drumming and an airy production feel echoed by the exquisite pastoral pictures used in the album booklet graphics. And the vocals are often close harmony, which means that as always happens when vocal arrangements layer 3rds, 5ths and 6ths the Byrds and Crosby Stills & Nash are mentioned. But this crew have a great deal more in common with and would I am certain appeal to fans of generally underrated US country rockers Poco and Brit songsmiths Matthews Southern Comfort. Co-writer of the songs Lindsay Clark stresses the group effort to compose and arrange the material. He feels the album is strong on songs and he’s right, the likes of Teenage Fan Club whose sound is fine but songs so patchy might feel a tinge envious.
Third track ‘Sunshine’ even has a Lindisfarne touch – how we miss the social consciousness and achingly memorable compositions of Alan Hull. ‘Lazarus’ has a great spiky guitar contribution across its jerky farmyard tempo that Giant Sand fans might enjoy. The actual flow and balance of the album is reminiscent of the works of Colorado rockers Firefall. They like Pure Prairie League left some memorable songs in their wake.
Grantura’s strong suit seems to be their enthusiasm ; I suspect this is better realised in a live setting so we’ll go and see them, I think. I imagine multi-instrumentalist and prime mover Rick Blackman is in his element onstage. They do need an edgy, dark number in their set though to offset the breezy core of their principal appeal.
I can’t make a case for this band being high on originality, but this is a worthy debut, opener ‘Waves’ deserves some attention for its rolling denseness and pleasant tune ;
a single of ‘In Dreams’ / ‘The Long Road’ is set for release soon.
Pete Sargeant www.fairhearing.co.uk