Thursday, November 18, 2010

A review that I wrote for the Dublin, Ireland duo known as the Guggenheim Grotto can be found below.

The Guggenheim Grotto ~ The Universe is Laughing

The Dublin, Ireland duo of Kevin May and Mick Lynch are back with their third full-length release titled The Universe is Laughing. As usual, the “dark folk” that characterized their first two releases is no less visible here. The sinister opener, “Trust Me I’m a Thief” testifies to this as the duo harmonizes: “cross your heart and hope to die / stick a needle in your eye / careful what you wish for / Oh, the devil’s in the detail.” On the other end of the spectrum is the joy filled ballad “Wings and Feathers” - a song that mixes piano with an electronic sound that works quite well. Another song worth mentioning is the heartfelt “Concentrate.” Here, two part harmonies abound as duo longingly sings about the desire to see someone no longer there.
While lyrically incomprehensible, the title track “The Universe is Laughing,” is well worth several listens as well. Adding to this sound is the folk pop found layered throughout Happy the Man - their sophomore release. Here too, it’s found weaving its way throughout the recording. Characterizing this is arguably the best song, the single “Wisdom” - an upbeat pop didy that mixes the viola, a fine combination of percussion and the mystical words of principle lyricist May.

In the end, there are no duds here. From start to finish, May and Lynch have crafted a true work of art that manages to span a wide spectrum of sound. While the universe may be laughing, they’ll be no one laughing at this effort. Great stuff!
~Reviewed by Jeff Bouma