Greg Grant,
After the Crash
(Altered State, 2001)

I just survived After the Crash, and I am creeped out. Greg Grant sings with the voice of a man living in an alley, with a knife and a psychotic break for company. Some strange sound manipulation makes Grant's already rough voice sound like it's coming from the end of a dark tunnel while the notes of his guitars and saxophone leap up right in your ear.

Grant starts his album with a kind of love song. Anyone looking at the lyrics might think "In Love Again" was an optimistic tune. The ominous, hungry music and Grant's halting delivery turn the upbeat lyrics into a phobic fret over the power of love. "The Saddest, Hardest Thing," a somewhat sad song about love that's simply not meant to be, feels more relaxed than the sure-love message of "In Love Again." A soft saxophone solo at the end carries the resigned regret of the song better than the often conflicting lyrics. Love never seems a solidly good thing in this world. The lover is usually captured, by passion or, as in "Serpent Lady," by magic. The feel changes entirely with "Serpent Lady," as guitar and percussion turn Latin for an ensorcelling woman.

The most powerful songs on After The Crash give Grant's paranoid delivery and rough voice a plot to wrap themselves around. "Angles" reads and sounds like a schizophrenic rant, as some ambiguous "they" hides the truth from "us." "Closed Eyes" sings the glory and use of oppression and lies, seemingly straight from "their" throats.

After The Crash ends with the title song, a twisting, atmospheric instrumental that sums up all the contradictions of the album. It's a very hard album to listen to all the way through. The contradiction between Grant's rough vice and sweet instruments sets up a surreal and creepy clash that makes After The Crash the musical equivalent of a psychological horror novel. I can't say I enjoyed the album, but it certainly gave me some vivid mental videos.

- Rambles
written by Sarah Meador
published 7 December 2002