Grinspoon have shown that their hiatus was worth it through their latest full-length, ‘Six To Midnight’. With ‘Alibis & Other Lies’, their 2007 effort, they sounded lost at times, almost as if they’d lost touch with what they set out to do in the first place. Even though it was nominated for ARIA Best Rock Album, some fans argued that they were reaching out to a new part of the music scene that they hadn’t charted before, and didn’t need to chart. Some songs lacked the fervent passion, the aggression and enjoyment that the band had put into previous works, and it rang false with the fans who’d stuck with them from the difficult start. For an idea of what I’m trying to say, they were doing a Nickelback or a Kings Of Leon: selling out. However, it’s good to know that the band themselves realised this and took a break to ponder, hone and remember.
From the very start of ‘Six To Midnight’, you know the band are back on form. The riff in ‘Dogs’ shows that this album is about telling everyone; the doubters, the praisers, the neutrals, that they are back and are no longer about pleasing the masses, but are going about their business like they only know how to: by making intelligent, angry music that is heavier than you’d think because it’s hidden beneath Phil Jamieson‘s moody, drifting, heated vocal style. “There is nothing left to say ’cause you’re already dead / No use walking ’round with a hole in your head” is the thumping, sing-a-long chorus and it is one that makes sure Grinspoon are firmly back on the radar, with the darkly grooving riff alongside it that is the superb work of Pat Davern.
‘Premonitions’ is another song that shows the band working well together. The drum beat is catchy, especially the cymbal use, and Jamieson‘s playful laugh that is used at times between verses is hard not to join in with. It could be mistaken for a sneer, and this only adds to the ‘fuck it’ attitude that the band manage to put across with this song, especially with the lazy, dirty sounding guitars. ‘Tonight’ has an intro that is the heaviest on the album. You expect a huge breakdown to disperse the whole sound, but it doesn’t come until halfway through, and instead, the band play off the heavy wall they’ve created and Jamieson‘s vocals create another side to the song: a more gentler, melodic, accessible side that’s hard not to like.
‘Summer’ is the weakest track on offer. It has a crooning strings section and plucked guitars that sound as if Jamieson‘s trying to serenade the listener, but it simply doesn’t work. His voice isn’t the best here, and to be honest it sounds like a poor pop song. But, it could also be the most accessible track on offer too. It’s a track that you will either love or hate.
Overall, this album is a really good return to form. The only flaw with it is that the songs do sound very similar and it would’ve been good to hear a change to the start of the tracks. Nearly every song starts off with a menacing riff that leans away to a more gentler, slower paced middle section and ends with the same riff. But, saying that, it is only a minor flaw and Grinspoon are well and truly back, and with a stinking attitude to match.
Written by Rhys Milsom
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.