By Moira E. McLaughlin
Friday, January 25, 2013
Can there ever be too much of a good thing? Local musician Gideon Grove’s debut full-length album, “Wildfires,” tests that theory with his accessible, moving and reverb-laced tunes that showcase his beautiful tenor voice, his beautiful guitar playing, his beautiful multi-layered production and (to top it off!) his beautiful thoughts on love.
The album kicks off with “Cherokee Stars,” which begins with a far-off rumbling of drums, coupled with a cello’s four-note pattern. Grove, who grew up playing viola in Wheaton, layers every tune with multiple guitar parts that each have their own unique and memorable melodies that move in and out of the song.
On the second song, “Beside Still Waters,” and throughout the album, Grove creates an epic and sweeping sonic tapestry that simply feels good to listen to.
Later in the album, Grove’s slower tunes, such as “Magdalena” and “Walls,” sound derivative and a little whiny.
As a listener delves more deeply into the album, all these smooth melodies and easy, echoing chords might start to wear on one’s ear. A tune like “Waxing Moon,” an energetic and poppy song that would have been a welcome opener, feels wasted -- fading away in between all the other good things.
Grove might do well to find a yin to his yang -- or a little grittiness to his beautiful -- that would give his album texture, make his songs pop and surprise his listeners.