Aah Belgium, the land of good beer, good chocolate, good football and, if Grand Blue Heron are anything to go by, pretty good rock music.
It’s no great secret that rock music is alive and well on the continent, it’s a thriving community and often feels like every suburban street or block of flats has a future rock star tucked away in a corner somewhere, busily learning guitar chords, listening to albums and planning world domination. Not sure if this is the reality but there are some good bands that don’t get the attention they deserve because the music isn’t ‘on trend’ or simply because the market is crowded by British and American examples.
Sounding like a 90’s indie band and giving a nod to 70’s punk comes Grand Blue Heron, a four piece from Belgium, who don’t care if you like what they do because they’re having such a good time doing it, you can either join the party or stay outside and wait for the next bus home. There is a level of control throughout the album that only really comes with experience and knowing your instrument inside out.
The overall sound is effect-heavy (only the drums sound organic) with guitar tones going from thick distortion to heavy sustain in seconds, but it works. Rock music has always been judged on its energy, it’s not like classical music where a musician will pour over notation, playing a piece of music repetitively until it becomes second nature, rock music is trial and error, attitude and ego, the four musicians on show here know their individual place and part of the puzzle.
The album starts with a strong rock song to set the tone and we’re taken through rock-blues, to straight up, smack-in-the-face rock to a mid-section of two songs that hint at a fondness for 80’s bands like Joy Division and then the whole package is finished off with a song entitled ‘Chlamydia’ (obviously not a first date song) which is simply punk.
If your tastes are a little heavier than most, but not as heavy as metal, you could do far worse than giving these fellas a few minutes of your time, who knows, you might even fancy cracking open a bottle of beer too.
Not that we condone that kind of thing here…