If you live around Melb and you’re always on the hunt for your next fuzzy, stoner rock hit like me, what you need in your life is a little bit of Grasshole. No that’s not a typo dirty bird, they’re a just a group of three dudes from Melbourne who love to jam… it’s wholesome as f*ck.
So if you’re one of the many ‘90s babies out there sick of pining over the likes of Weezer and The Hives, these guys are for you! They’ve been skulking around the scene for a little while now, having released their debut EP back in July 2013 with a sprinkling of a few singles and albums since then as well as a few international tours and festivals thrown in for good measure, these boys have been busy bees! On top of all that, they’re also putting out a new album this year called Wildfire, set for release March 4th.
The album’s title track was released as a single back in January and if you haven’t listened to that yet definitely go suss, it’s a fun little dance-punk track. But don’t take it from me, just hop onto Spotify you lazy potato.
Back to the album, it was recorded over just 11 intensive days out in the scenic Dandenong Ranges and declared by one of the band members to be their strongest album to date and us kiddos here at Forte are the lucky ducks who get to premiere it! So let’s dive in and break it down.
The opening track ‘Put Me in a Bubble’ kicks it off with an energetic, melodic, punky banger that really reflects the band’s sound as a mix of fuzzy garage with the melodic hard-core of early ‘90s punk rock, mixing in some cheeky brass for that ‘90s-does-‘60s, ska-punk sound.
Following track ‘Shallows’ departs a little, running with a heavier, more jagged sound while still maintaining their melody, giving strong early QOTSA vibes.
Further into the album, we get ‘The Trials of Lenny Harlock’ that opens with a funky industrial rock intro which quickly fuzzes out and speeds up for a deep, heavy well-rounded banger, I’m in love with the jagged riff distortions on this one.
If I had to pick a fave for this album it would absolutely hands down, without a doubt be ‘First Blood’. The only track on the whole album that is completely instrumental, it opens with a foreboding, rumbly intro that slowly builds up and then lashes out into a break-neck, raw energy that twists and winds in ways you don’t expect. You know those stoner rock songs that have an intro that goes for a solid minute or two and it’s either super tedious or the most absorbing, entrancing wait room you’ve ever been in until you get to the main party and it’s freaking AWESOME? Well, you can have a guess about how I feel about this one. Throw in some trumpets and sweet cowboy-eqsue guitar reverb with a haunted desert vibe and you are set for a real wild ride. It’s like they took Muse’s Cydonian Knight and molded him into a hardcore mercenary, replacing their clearer, spacier sound for something much grungier. I love it.
If Grasshole is good at one thing, it’s playing around with a wide variety of captivating new sounds and mixing it in with their punky garage fuzz, keeping it iconically Grasshole and yet completely fresh every time.
Check out the album below.
Wildfire will be available on vinyl and all digital platforms March 4, 2020
You can also catch Grasshole at the Golden Vine in Bendigo on April 17 and The Eastern in Ballarat on April 24.
Written by Jess Sercombe