Ten songs and thirty minutes of raw, carefree yet simultaneously over-thinking grunge music – real and unapologetic – this is what you get when you tune in for the album Guitarded.
Freakshow kicks things off with a vintage and live sounding wall of audio, accompanied by a few notes that make up the melody – a droning approach not unlike the inner album offerings of Nirvana or The Pixies from way back when. Mary Jane follows and takes the raw element even further, a totally bold and loud piece of music pours through, alongside a barely audible leading voice. After a while a fairly distinct hook section makes itself known – an identifier for future returns. Whatever it is that you may subconsciously expect on reading the name of this artist and the title of this album, you’re likely to be both completely unsurprised and totally stumped by what unfolds within.
Abilify is a song with an effective and dizzying back and forth between chords, as well as a slightly clearer and deeper leading vocal delivery. There’s character to it, not unlike that of Something in The Way. All of this feels very much like a noisy escape from the norm, an antidote to the crisp and clean sound of modern music, as well as something of a free-flowing exploration of thoughts – maybe even an unedited diary entry.
Many of the titles on this project work hard to intrigue. Diazepam is one that does this either for its relatable nature of for its mysterious aura – depending on the listener. This is one of the most colourful or hopeful songs of all, a clever choice considering the theme – perhaps a misdirection or a fake display of joy and possibility. The hook is kind of hilarious and simultaneously provocative. It weaves its way into your mind in either case.
Sheep brings distortion and thickness back. The vocal steps away a little, guitars and drums collide and cascade around you. There’s a touch of contrast between sections that provides an essential break from the norm and lets the higher vocal parts hit with impact. The song becomes quite energizing after a while, making you want to get up and go do – perhaps the concept, the fear of being one of the sheep, or perhaps this Distillers-like level of pace; sweeping you off your feet.
An interesting chord progression emerges for Grey, the words are distant and barely audible again, but you get a sense there may be something deeply personal within. The music does the majority of the talking, the voice simply adds an element of realness and humanity. You try to picture the writing and recording process, even a live show. This sound is notably rare right now.
In her hands follows and creates a story-line or scene before you that again provokes intrigue and consideration of the potential ideas or experiences behind it. Loveless afterwards is a potential sequel, the theme of relationships slithers its way into the mix; as it so often does in music. The instrumentation here makes for one of the most memorable backdrops yet and the hook is surprisingly upbeat.
Island offers a sense of space and a haunting melody that stops you in your tracks a little. There’s a vulnerability in the voice or a feeling that the artist is at breaking point. It adds a new layer of realness, of struggle and perhaps of desperately reaching out to connect. The guitar work takes a stylish role later on. Flickers of images such as the ocean light up the head-space of the song.
Things come to a close with Plane, a fitting piece that falls in line with everything you’ve come to know about the album. Even having heard the project in full though, there’s still a lot left to the imagination – there are still many questions about the meanings of these songs and the feelings involved in the creative process; as was often the case with genuine grunge and alternative rock music. It’s far from obvious, far from clear-cut and squeaky clean. It’s something of its own, and it rightfully makes no apologies for that.
Download the album via Bandcamp.