Sunday, 18 March 2012

Review: Mike Grosshandler

Mike Grosshandler - Blues Skies Black (Independent)
Mike ‘Harvey’ Grosshandler’s music career began with grunge band State Of Nowhere, who recorded one record before splitting in 1997. The group’s demise prompted Grosshandler’s move to Albany, NY, and he’s been active in the city’s music scene ever since, initially joining the band Pour.Jayce for a couple of years, before forming The Velmas, with other ex-members of Pour.Jayce. In 2011 he began another project Above The Flood. Simultaneously he’s released a series of solo recordings; beginning with 2003’s “Scales”, and followed a year later by “Wrote Myself”. Both those recordings were primarily acoustic affairs, but for “Blues Skies Black” Grosshandler has upped the ante.

Written and recorded over a three year period, “Blues Skies Black” is an ambitious collection of post-grunge, alt. rock, singer-songwriter fare. I know that’s a bit of a mouthful, but that’s what it is. Grosshandler possesses a fine, adaptable voice that somehow brings to mind both Roger McGuinn and Bill Janovitz, and there’s no shortage of great tracks. In particular the title piece, where an epic riff collides with a big tune, the sort of thing that lodges in the frontal lobe and refuses to leave quietly. Add to that a song that you’ll find yourself mouthing the words to at inopportune moments, and someone will probably end up suing him for embarrassment caused. Of course, it’s by no means the only outstanding track, and it would be utterly callous to sign off this review without mentioning the sub-aqua joys of “Fish in the Sea”, the unruffled guitars of “Everything's Fine” or the astute, gentle poptones of “Drops”.
Simon M.

Mike Grosshandler: Blue Skies Black

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