Album Reviews

Grampall Jukebox – Ropechain

(Asthmatic Kitty) UK release date: 3 November 2008

Grampall Jukebox - Ropechain If you’ve ever found yourself pondering what Simple Kid would sound like if he went completely insane, then Grampall Jookabox has the answer. Splicing psych-techno music with funk, Americana, punk, and any other genre he can grope, Ropechain is a hedonistic headfuck of a record that will leave you wandering what’s just abducted your ears.

It’s gritty, big, and boasts a percussive diversity and an off-its-tits creativity that would make critical darlings Late Of The Pier blush. Opener Black Girls is a screaming statement of intent, a thundering bassline meeting its match in the form of a pulsating industrial beat while Grampall Jookabox, aka David Adamson muses “Black girls bend skyscrapers with their brains”.

The dissonant verse and vocally annoying (basically skat) chorus of Let’s Go Mad Together seems intent on destroying Ropechain before its really even begun before two guitars appear from the mist and wreak bloody mayhem with atonal solos. The lesson seems to be: Don’t try and second guess Grampall Jookabox.

“What does a ghost mean to a Christian man like me?” asks the pitch-shifted narrator of Ghost over a searching synth line before Old Earth, Wash My Beat takes the spotlight, providing a credible hypothesis as to what it might sound like if Fleet Foxes over-indulged on hallucinogenic drugs and transported themselves into space. Endearingly, the manic weirdness of the music is matched by Adamson’s wittily ridiculous lyrics and profoundly carefree, playful vocal delivery.

Ropechain is a rare record, a novelty, and something that everyone needs to hear on account of its sheer genre bending, mind-alteringly relentless craziness. Absurdly entertaining, and quite disturbing, Ropechain will most certainly not be to the tastes of many. But it must be admired for its originality and brain-shakingly ridiculous beauty. Adamson is clearly very talented; Ropechain hints at genius.

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