The Grand Revision’s “Ursa Lux EP”
There is something that feels right with The Grand Revision’s Ursa Lux EP. Something that feels like a return to form. Or a return to a basic sensibility without the anxiety of having to reinvent or re-imagine. From Canton, Ohio, The Grand Revision is a rock band that manages to truly rock while still maintaining […]Grafton Tanner
out of 10
The Grand Revision
Ursa Lux EP
July 22, 2011
There is something that feels right with The Grand Revision’s Ursa Lux EP. Something that feels like a return to form. Or a return to a basic sensibility without the anxiety of having to reinvent or re-imagine. From Canton, Ohio, The Grand Revision is a rock band that manages to truly rock while still maintaining variety and order. This is well-crafted indie alternative, a polished product that effortlessly fuses sing-a-long verses with a sense of artistic flair. This may sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo word salad, but in all honesty, The Grand Revision leaves me a bit speechless. With one EP, TGR could successfully bring about what their name implies: a complete revamping of rock as we know it. Let me show you what I’m talking about.
From the top, Ursa Lux showcases Sam Shaffer’s natural talent. His voice is warm enough to be ear friendly yet distinctive enough to recognize amongst a whole host of imitators. “Asleep With The Reckless” is a beautiful introduction, and “Urban Soil” expounds the themes a bit further. And as the record continues, patterns arise. Everything about Ursa Lux points to a feeling of naturality. There are images of the ocean, of light and natural heat, of the sun, of fish, and even fire. “Let your hair grow long,” Sam sings in “Urban Soil.” “Hemmed into leaves and lakes alike/ Let your hair grow long.” This entire song is a breath from the outside world. TGR sounds truly in tune with nature; they do not praise it nor do they make lofty comparisons to it. They are more Cormac McCarthy and less Thoreau. Even the name of the EP suggests a return to natural form by painting an image of light and fauna with a language long since unspoken.
The music and lyrics flow more smoothly than most rock records around today, and that is because of the natural musical ability of TGR. These guys are masters of their instruments and are able to display their knowledge while showing restraint at key moments. Their parts twine organically as with the triplet patterns of “Ursa” or with the icy guitar/vocal combinations in “Heat.” Every part is in its right place, and nothing feels awkward or stilted.
The song that most accurately captures The Grand Revision’s knack for what they do well is “Bellowing Smoke.” Sam and his guitar come from somewhere else, perhaps you are hearing him sing in another room in an abandoned house. Or perhaps the music emanates from up within the chimney. It is from a natural source, and that’s what is striking. “Even if the town goes down in flames/ I’ll reach out to feel your hand in mine,” he sings. Whether bathing in the ocean or watching the town burn, The Grand Revision documents it all and leaves the listener with a feeling of childlike wonder at the grandeur of nature and of music itself.