The Golden Republic
by David E. Demarest
Everyone’s always asking me, “Who’ll be
the next hot band to come out of Kansas City, Missouri?” Okay, so
you’re probably not thinking that exactly, but maybe you should be.
And if by some curious coincidence you were already wondering, then how
fortunate for this review, because I can tell you right now that the answer
is The Golden Republic’s self titled debut album, released on Feb 8th,
Ben Grimes fronts the band, and has a really
impressive range of voice and an equally impressive understanding of control
and restraint when necessary. He seems as comfortable on the fast
moving rock tracks as during the moments that call for extended pitch control.
I’d say Ben would make it to about the fourth round of American Idol before
America’s 12 year olds voted him off for not being a duche. (Sorry
Clay Aiken fans!) Kenn Jankowski’s work on lead guitar provides
appropriate highlights and counter melodies on tracks like “Things we do”
while bringing funky little riffs to songs like “Robots.” Throughout
it all Harry Anderson (on the bass) and band co-founder Ryan Shank (drums)
are very solid, though they don’t really get to showcase their considerable
talent until the second half of the album.
While the boys from Kansas City are still
a little rough around the edges, I can already tell that this is the kind
of band you’re going to want to go see live. Expect a hell of show,
based on solid musicianship and a lot of energy. That’s the feel
packed into nearly every one of the eleven songs on their first full length
release. Of course, there’s a lot on the album that you probably
won’t get to catch in the live show, because this is definitely a nicely
mixed album, the product of a great deal of studio time, resulting in perfect
balancing and well thought out blends and contrasts used to create the
whole sound. The studio time also gave The Golden Republic a chance
to pull in some outside help in the form of cello, sax, and trombone work
on a few songs to help round out what is otherwise a mostly traditional
rock band sound.
Although The Golden Republic is an album
that I’ll keep in rotation for quite a while, there are some rough edges.
For starters, the album leads with what is probably it’s weakest track
and doesn’t really get going until the third song in. Also - and
this has nothing to do with much of anything, but I thought I’d include
it anyway – the album’s cover photo is sketchy as hell, and to be honest
it freaks me out a little bit. It’d be perfectly appropriate if the
album had been named “Awkward Kiss,” but otherwise I think they could have
Once it gets going, The Golden Republic
is a hard album to turn away from. Artistically mixed and mastered,
full of clever hesitations and funky (for rock) beats, it’s equally groundbreaking
and traditional rock and roll. The entire album is anchored by quality
writing and good musicianship, which is the receipt for a solid album.
I would not hesitate to recommend this album, or The Golden Republic as
a live show, to anyone.
Turning Of The World
You Almost Had It
She's So Cold
I'll Do Anything
Things We Do
Rows Of People
Not My Kind
Full Of Yourself You Get Old
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