Album Review: The Grandstand Jockeys’ “Place”

ALBANY – In just one week, The Grandstand Jockeys are set to release their latest EP, Place. Over at Nippertown, we had a chance to get our ears on the record prior to release. The album, another short-but-sweet collection from the band displays what they do best: straightforward rock tunes with compelling guitar parts. Highlighting their influences, listeners will get a chance to hear a blend of grunge, post-rock, and roots-rock music.

As an exclusive, attached below is “Wait and See” from the band’s upcoming album.

A heavily distorted guitar strums a rhythmic figure in the intro of “Change,” the opening track. This carries through the verse as the full band kicks in. After the first chorus, we’re greeted with a simple but standout keyboard arpeggiated pattern. While the backup vocals are repetitive in nature, they are cemented in your head, and it doesn’t take long to figure out where they’re going with the song. My favorite parts of the tune are the guitar solo and keyboard parts.

Starting off the piece in a similar manner, “No More,” track two, features tons of overdriven and distorted guitars. After the second chorus, we hear a well-placed and well-performed guitar solo. I really enjoy it when soloing instruments follow the chord progression, rather than just noodling around on scales, and this solo does just that. Though the chorus, and overall song, is fairly straightforward, the abrupt ending is unexpected and a welcomed aspect of the arrangement.

Changing direction a bit, we hear cleanly played guitar arpeggios and a pad synth part in the beginning of “Broken Dreams,” track three, before vocals enter. It’s not long before the piece becomes more instrumentally fleshed out. The pre-chorus bumps the energy up a bit, before receding briefly for another verse. By the time the chorus hits, we’re all in, however; definitely the most well-arranged track on the EP. During the latter half of the tune, the guitar solo tells yet another great musical story.

A spoken-word section is heard as “Mary Sausage and the Eskimo,” track four, starts. An emcee is trying to announce the name of the song, and the band, but makes a mistake. The announcer getting the name of the band wrong made me chuckle; it sounds like something you’d hear at some offbeat recital. The song itself has a lot of 1980s and 1990s post-rock vibes. Guitar fills and solos throughout the tune complement the straightforward rhythm parts. It’s arranged in such a way that doesn’t require a lot of picking apart, musically; listeners can just go for a nice ride-along with the song. Ending the song with another announcement in which the emcee got the name of the band wrong again, but differently this time, is a humorous way to end the track.

A minor and descending guitar pattern leads the closing song “Wait and See” into its first verse. Some of the riffs are very reminiscent of bands the like of Nirvana. This is definitely the most grunge-alternative sounding track on the album; the drums are pounding. After the chorus, we hear the intro guitar pattern before a solo – that is admittedly more subdued than others on the record – occurs. it’s clear at this point that the guitar is my favorite aspect of the record. One of the things this band does very well is make their choruses simple and memorable. While not the most energetic on the album, the concluding track is an effective one: the band is almost telling their listeners to “wait and see” for what they have in store.

Fans of rock, and straightforward arrangements will enjoy The Grandstand Jockey’s latest effort, Place. Though true there’s not many unexpected inclusions in the record – instrumentally or vocally – sometimes that’s better. This would be a great record to put on for an extended car ride; it breaks up the monotony of the day with its familiarity. Check it out for yourself on streaming services when it becomes available next week!

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