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Grandchildren (Philadelphia): Zuni [Slipcase] *

Track List

>War, The
>Things They Buried
>Make It
>Walking Dead
>Answer, The
>Turn Away
>Roads, The
>You Know It All

Album Notes

Their third album, Zuni, finds Philadelphia's Grandchildren back with more of their syncopated rhythms, catchy tunes, and luscious, layered sounds starring bright synths and melodic percussion. Grounded in a warm organicness despite the use of electronics (with the help of brass, woodwinds, and acoustic drums), it follows the example of their prior album, Golden Age. Zuni's sunny aura is contrasted by song titles like "Nothing," "The War," "Things They Buried," and "Walking Dead," and lyrics like "There's nothing to see 'cause there's nothing there/They know your name but you're unknown/Happiness is still a long way out/Though it seems real, you're alone." (That opens the album.) This dichotomy is not new to the band but is especially pronounced on Zuni with its even grander echoing musical brio. The preceding lyrics are from the joyous, musically celebratory "Nothing," which features a lush, rattling wall of sweet sounds. The record doesn't significantly let up from there, shimmering and grooving along on mostly major keys and Aleks Martray's own layered, trebly vocals. The sonic high-rise drops out from time to time to catch its and our breath, such as during "The War," which reduces to single-note melodic guitar and the tambourine accompaniment of Martray, for a few moments at least. When it builds back up, it's with strings, brass, keyboards, cymbals, and more. "Make It" has a slightly darker tone and sparser arrangement but is still vibrant, with pummeled low-end drums, both woody and stinging synth voices, and stacked, whirling vocal harmonies. The album also surprises with sounds like gongs and clanging chimes along for the ride. With Zuni's far-reaching color palette, rhythmic infectiousness, and steering melodies, listeners should prepare to be invigorated. ~ Marcy Donelson


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