Grand Champeen | Dial “T” for This (In Music We Trust)

grandchampIt's tasteful but not terribly innovative; sweet but never cloying; endearing and enjoyable.





The press release for Grand Champeen's newest album, Dial "T" for This quotes frontman Channing Lewis claiming, "the most important thing to note about this record is that we recorded and mixed it to tape, without the aid of ProTools or any editing software." That is slightly unfortunate, for never should the production techniques of an album completely outweigh the content of the finished product. Especially given the self-evident strengths of Dial "T" for This, a driving, hook-driven, straight-ahead rock album that is both catchy and memorable.

Grand Champeen manage to combine a wide range of musical influences, from shining Brit pop to distorted roots rock, while still achieving a cohesive sound. It's tasteful but not terribly innovative; sweet but never cloying; endearing and enjoyable. The album never slows down to allow much breath to seep in. The most plodding song on the disc is "Olivia," the album closer, which can't be considered anything slower than midtempo. There's also not a great deal of immediate emotional gravity. That's not necessarily a flaw. Grand Champeen's forte lies in hard, driving rock songs with occasion soaring pop hooks. Maybe the best on the album, "Cities on the Plain," combines grungy verses with a memorable chorus of pure dance pop. "Nice of You to Join Us" and "Gonna Be the Death of Me" are also pitch perfect pop whose melodies and harmonies remain lodged in your brain longer than the words themselves.

It may be notable that all of the guitar solos were played live, and that the drum beats were actually struck by the drummer in the studio. But as opposed to stressing the ways in which Dial "T" for This was produced, Grand Champeen should be most proud of the fact that they've created a tight, driving record that perfectly bridges rock and pop without compromising either. B | Brad Proctor

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