What's Eating Gilbert Grape are a psychedelic art rock band formed in 2005. Based in Cornwall the band - who take their influences from bands such as Janes Addiction, Tool and Smashing Pumpkins - started playing live and landed a few support slots. Two full UK tours are due to take place in the latter half of 2008 to promote this, their debut EP, entitled A Blue Image.
The CD opens with the title track which has a minute and a half of an odd intro played over samples of machine gun fire and a woman moaning. The song itself is filled with jerky time changes and wailing echo filled vocals that sound like they're supposed to be ethereal and Perry Farrell-esque. The whole things sounds disjointed and quite frankly - poor. "I'm Always" has a much better intro and decent riff that unfortunately breaks down into more of the same poor attempt at dreamlike vocals where you can't actually decipher any full words. It just sounds like a load of "ooh"s and "aah"s. 'Wool' did this a whole lot better in 1992 and had extremely memorable songs, these guys would do well to go away and listen to Wool's Budspawn EP to see how to do this sort of thing properly. "Ten Years" has vocals that remind me of Eddie Vedder without the talent and is another song that meanders along and goes nowhere at all. Next up is "Autumn", an acoustic track where you can actually hear the lyrics! Somehow "Fall Away" manages to drag on for almost ten minutes without actually going anywhere. Maybe if I was completely stoned it would make sense but in my completely sober state it just makes none at all, the only good bit comes towards the end where it veers off into Black Sabbath territory for a little while before reverting back to it's normal dull state. The EP closes with "Twisted Magnolia" with its Eastern influenced sitar style intro and bongos, once again though there's very little in the way of an actual song here.
I hate slagging bands off for the simple fact that at least they've actually got themselves together and recorded something that some people will no doubt enjoy which is more than I've ever done musically BUT when something does absolutely nothing at all for me such as this I can't help myself. The band haven't helped themselves by taking their name from a Johnny Depp film as it makes it difficult to find anything about them doing an online search. They're currently looking for a bass player following the departure of Nick Stacey and as such have no live dates currently announced. I have to say it's impossible to find something for me to recommend to others here, it's just not my kinda style of music and while it's played well the vocals just left me cold.
by John Baxter
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