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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Grapefruit Sound Lab

Eight Days Across America

Review by Gary Hill

This new album from Grapefruit Sound Lab is available both as a digital release and as a vinyl LP. While I've reviewed the digital version, the songs are the same on both. The music here is largely electronic. It leans toward the EDM end of the spectrum. It's also high quality from start to finish. I previously reviewed several of these tracks as singles. For the sake of consistency the track reviews of those were brought over to this review with some modifications in some cases.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
A Song About Freedom
Percussion starts this cut. It works to a full rhythmic treatment from there. Electronic musical concepts with a spoken female vocal take control from there. The tune has a real EDM vibe with an art rock edge. The vocals get sung as it continues. There are some soulful gospel styled vocals on the chorus. A Kraftwerk-like synthetic vocal joins after that.
To Make You Mine
The opening of this seems to merge the electronic music of the 70s with an EDM kind of groove. As the cut works out that EDM quality becomes the driving force. The lead vocal arrangement has a real 80s pop vibe. The backing vocals bring a soulful element to the cut. The whole tune has some great hooks and sounds. This isn't even my kind of music, but I love it. It's that effective, really.
Don't Fall For It
A female vocal opens this piece. The track works out there with a cool EDM styled groove. There is a "dance mix" feeling to the number that calls to mind the 12" singles of the 80s and 90s. This has a rap on it. The rhythm section is the driving force behind the musical arrangement. This is a classy groove, and it earns a parental advisory for the lyrics.
Ave Maria
Atmospheric textures are the backdrop for a litany that seems right out of some Catholic rite. The cut works out from there with spacey musical elements that seem to teeter between space rock and psychedelia. There are several levels of vocals in this song including a sung invocation, some female spoken parts and the opening voices. Around the half-way mark the cut shifts to a cool EDM meets psychedelia and world music groove.        
Shine (Red House Mix)
There is a real EDM vibe that comes into the track from the start. That sort of energy and mood remain throughout the tune. The vocals work pretty well. I dig the echoed bit later in the number. The only issue I have with the vocals are when they get over-processed, but that's a function of the original, not this remix. That original is from an artist named Gina Volpe, and the vocals are hers. In fact, I think that I actually prefer the vocal arrangement on this version. It seems to have a bit more punch. The musical arrangement on the original, while slower, has more of an organic quality that I prefer. That said, this remix works well, too.
The Flavors Of Tears
Coming in energized and soulful, the dance groove on this seems to merge EDM and old-school disco. As the lead vocals enter it takes on more of an 80s vibe, like ABC or similar artists. This is catchy and entertaining. I dig the funkier elements of it the most.
Love Cards
A cool synthesizer sound brings this into being. A powerful vocal line (by an artist named Amuka) enters. The tune works out into a smoking groove from there. The vocals are masterful and soulful and so classy. The tune has a killer funky vibe and some real class. The overall effect is a powerhouse modern pop texture. with plenty of retro stylings in the mix. This is very effective. It's very meaty.
Dum Dum Gun
Percussion brings this into being. Then a cello joins. The arrangement fills out with a real medieval arrangement. In fact, all the instruments are either percussive or classical string-based. The vocals (Sarah Naughton) bring a playful sense of artistry to the number. The lyrics are a social commentary that stands in contrast to the rather fun vibe of the piece. This thing is all class. I actually included this number as progressive rock when I reviewed it as a single, and it definitely fit as art rock.
 
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