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coverpic flag US - Connecticut - Full Moon 179 - 04/18/11

Grandpa Was A Lion
The Whalestoe Tapes
GWAL

I wrote a piece on Grandpa Was A Lion (GWAL) some moonths ago after receiving some of GWAL, or, rather, Justin D'Onofrio's songs by e-mail. Appealing, charming and mysterious songs. Music making me somehow think of, as I said, Where the Wild Things Are.

At the time I couldn't find out if those songs were officially released, or being demo songs for promo purposes. Now the album, The Whalestoe Tapes is for real, and it's a good as I thought last time. The album holds 13 tracks, of which 5 were present last time around (and: two of the songs from that time aren't included here). F.i. my favourites: "Mississippi Dreams", "Flying Birds", and "Hello from the farm". One of the interesting newcomers is "January Jones (My Bird Has Flown)", a colourful psychedelic pop piece, ending with small samples of The Beatles' "She Loves You" (the 'She loves You, yeah, yeah, yeah...' chorus) plus "In the Mood" (the song popularized by Glenn Miller). The Brooklyn-based D'Onofrio seems to be a playful soul. Playful on the moody, emotional side. "Mobile Alabama Blues" is a blue song. "Whitecaps" is lighter, paler (whiter...), and is like a song coming at you in long, slow waves. "The Light" is another fascinating song, being one of the highlights on The Whalestoe Tapes. Along with the 7minutes-40seconds-long "New York City", the almost as long "On A Train", and the aforementioned "January Jones (My Bird Has Flown)".

Highly recommended if you're in the mood of some brittle indie pop, like an indeed stripped down version of, say, Sparklehorse or Eels. Grandpa Was A Lion is fragile, low-toned music. Even though its a bit too long; the album clocks in at some 55 minutes, it's a good one.

Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Grandpa Was A Lion articles/reviews: Archaic EP, Caged Birds, Dancer, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Mona Lisa Apple.

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