Rock / Pop / Alternative
Life Under the Sun
Produced by: Grandview
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
My first taste of Life Under the Sun by the Philadelphia-based band Grandview was rather bitter. The music was great…the lyrics looked awesome…I really wanted to like the album. And then Mitch Hood sang…and the dog next door started howling. This is a true story. Now, much to Mitch’s credit, the dog next door loves to sing, especially when the local church bells are ringing. Mitch’s voice is a bit on the high-pitched side and I don’t recommend listening to it when you are suffering from a headache as I was on that date. That and the dog next door caused me to put the CD away for another day, hoping that it was just my state of mind keeping me from liking Life Under the Sun.
The second time I tested the waters, I got through three songs before putting the CD back into its case. I was definitely enjoying the music, but Mitch Hood’s voice got to me again and I couldn’t listen to the album without cringing. But, I am a dedicated person. Once I start something, I do my best to see it through. And so, I popped the CD in a third time, hoping that the old adage about the third time being the charm was true. I was surprised. I started getting used to the lead singer’s voice. It was all uphill from there.
Grandview’s style isn’t all that different from the alternative music we hear on mainstream stations everywhere. What we hear is guitars and drums - a combination found in many of the new bands hitting the airwaves of late. However, it is the musical talent of Mitch Hood, Matt Middleton, and Josh Hood on guitars combined with the style and innovation of Trevor Hood on drums that make their sound just a tad different from the rest.
However, what really sets this band apart from other alternative bands are their lyrics. The songs tell stories – intricate stories that you can actually see in your mind’s eye. You can see the pain of the couple depicted in the track Hands, trapped in a hell that they thought they’d wanted and now are living to regret. The message in Fall Down is abundantly clear. The lyrics are straight forward and easy to understand: “You fall down. Scratch upon your face. Marks you with some wisdom and your rank in life's long race. Pain makes us sound. And if you fall today, we'll remember your name.” While I enjoy symbolism and respect the thinking process that goes into symbolically written lyrics, there are times when I desire simplicity. Grandview’s lyrics are intelligently written, yet simple enough to understand as soon as you hear them. You don’t have to think back on them and say – oh yeah, that’s what they were trying to say!
Life Under the Sun is mainly enjoyable for the fact that the stories told in each song are about someone we can easily imagine and relate to. The messages are easy to understand. And, at times, the lyrics are wholly beautiful, as in the one love song Not Stopped Falling: “I'm sorry that these words I write aren't worthy. This world's crack to heaven leaks your beauty. But to call you beautiful would be insulting. Your the one I'd seen when I was dreaming…It's your name, my hearts been calling. And since we've kissed, I've not stopped falling. I'll stop time, we'll lie here sleeping. When your close by, I stop breathing.”
My only complaint is a tad ironic, considering how this review began. There are times during the album that the music tends to drown out the vocals. I first noticed this during the title song Life Under the Sun. It only occurs on two other songs, but, being a lyrics gal, I love hearing the words.
To sum things up, Grandview music would do well beside any other alternative rock band being played on mainstream radio. But with intelligent, well-thought out, easy to relate to lyrics, this band rises to the top of the heap. Life Under the Sun is definitely an album worth checking out!
For more about Grandview or to buy their album, visit them at their website: http://www.grandviewrock.net.