Review: Cherry Grind – 'A Room With A View'

This is the debut album by Adelaide band Cherry Grind. This band has worked hard for many years, working towards this release, produced by Bob Daisley. Yes, that’s Bob Daisley of Rainbow, Gary Moore, Uriah Heep, Malmsteen, and, in my opinion, the creative driving force in the Blizzard Of Ozz. Although a debut, this album has a feeling of age and confidence about it. By age, it sounds like Nazareth has just left the studio and Cherry Grind have popped in to record this off the cuff. By confidence, I mean that the band has come up through pubs and clubs and know their ability and are in the groove from the off.

I hear many bands, and many recordings, but this one stands out for a number of reasons, primarily because it’s basic rock, played with passion and commitment, which used to be the staple of Australian pub rock. I’m not using pub rock as a derogatory term as AC\DC and Billy Thorpe came from these roots, but it’s a style largely abandoned in Australia. By doing something that was commonplace and standard in the 1970’s and early 80’s, Cherry Grind has returned to a musical style that is now as unique as it is familiar.

We kick off with ‘No One Home’ and it’s a straightforward, in your face rock track. In no rush to go anywhere, but tight and well put together. It’s straight up, and over far too quickly. Onto ‘Dusty Road’ and this is a swaggering, sleazy track with a lazy riff buzzing through it. It’s on the mark, and it’s one of those songs that you think you’ve heard before, but it’s just a well written, accessible track. One listen, and you’re hooked. I’ve listened to it a couple of times as I’ve just come off a feast of progressive music, and realised that these tracks are both radio edits of around three minutes. No harm in that, and clearly band and producer have focused on balancing the song irrespective of running time.

‘The Gap’ kicks off with another riff, nothing flash or technical, but immediately memorable. It sets up the song and we are off again, another great track. Quick check of the calendar, still definitely 2015 but this is pure 70’s power rock. Don’t let that be a negative, because that’s when this music was born and it’s lovingly recreated here. I’m shoe-gazing, nodding along to this, thinking about how this would sound on vinyl. The playing is confident, and again, just well balanced and put together. Not keeping score, but that’s 3 great tracks out of 3. ‘Tombstone’ makes it 4! This is a top down in the car, sitting at the beach, busy doing nothing, type of song. It’s probably the most complex of any song on the album, yet and it’s the first one where I’m flicking through my Nazareth collection thinking… that riff… but no. It’s all unique and new. The twin guitars on this one tell me that there’s at least one Brian Robertson or Scott Gorham fan in the band. Big psychedelic finish to this song and notch up another winner.

Track 5 and it’s ‘A Minor Problem’. With vocals set to stun we get, ‘I met a girl 16 years old’ then riff fest. The song has at least 5 potential crimes by the time we reach the bridge! But what a song, again, unique and familiar. From a production perspective this has a lot more going on in it than first appears, but it’s another well balanced and put together piece of writing and production. Again, the not really in a rush solo, this time it might be Snowy White but it’s still the same era. Great song. That’s going on again.

‘Reason Says’ starts with a thick riff underpinning the lyric of couldn’t-give-a-shit infidelity. It’s a middle of the set song, and it’s in the middle of the album. Comfortable, relaxed but slightly menacing at the same time. Good, but not in the same league as the other tracks, but still keeps the overall feel going.

Track 7, ‘See You Again’ is a slow and unforgiving riff. It is a straight up winner, truly a classic track. Again, in no rush to go anywhere, and sounds like many that’s gone before it. I’ve gone through everything from Bad Company to Moore’s G-Force, and it’s all of them, but none of them. Not a clone, but the outcome of many years of ideas and influences. The song sleazes its way to a solo that is distorted but perfect. This is a song designed to put on when you get home after a heavy night and need a soundtrack to accompany the room spins.

So onto ‘Turn N’ Burn’ and it’s a stomp-a-long of a song. The lyrics here hit the targets but they are largely unimportant when you have a riff that’s only there to mark time before we have a solo. There we go, sounds like a contorted harmonica, ‘Communication Breakdown’ style. Again, much shorter track that completely caught me off guard. Make a note to listen to that again; bugger it, I’ll do it now. Great track, understated and layered beautifully.

Now the slowest track on the album called ‘Sunlight’ and it has a late 60s or early 1970s rock feel. Dare I say it, maybe a mid-90s Britpop feel about it? Normally, I would say show piece to demonstrate the band’s versatility, and move on, but this is different as it is in complete context with the rest of the album. If this had the same vocal style as ‘A Minor Problem’ we could have written this off, but the vocals are controlled and contained. Someone has clearly had good guidance and this song is an epic. It’s one of the longer tracks on the album but finishes far too soon. I would have a double vinyl album and called this one ‘side 4’. Loved it.

Penultimate track, ‘The Fool’, is back to the riffing and vocals up another notch. Similar to some of the shorter, earlier tracks on the album, it’s also well done. There is a groove that goes right through the middle and you are hooked. It’s a swaggering ‘check me out, over here doing stuff’ kind of song and difficult to fault. Whatever this is, I’ll take one.

Unfortunately, it’s the last track but what a track. ‘She’s Movin’ is a winner from the first clunk of the cowbell. About time we heard some Nazareth ‘Hair Of The Dog’ and this is one of the best tracks on the album. This is the last song of the night that demands an encore. Lyrically, its tight and a chorus that just smacks you in the chops. I first listened to this in the car, and this is an elbow out the window not-giving-a-shit classic. Loved everything about this. Finishes the album well and leaves you wanting more.

The old Hetfield line that it took Metallica 20 years to become an overnight success rings true for Cherry Grind, with many years on the pub and club circuit to produce an album of this quality. I honestly can’t fault it. Having ears that were tuned to Rainbow Rising and Thin Lizzy as a kid, this album is so in the groove I think I already had it in my favourites 20 years ago. I’ll say it again, very familiar but unique. I also think that this will be unique for a lot of people born in the late 80s and 90s when rock went limp and it lost its way. This album should speak to a whole host of tastes and backgrounds. I can’t recommend this enough. Get out there, buy this, and support Cherry Grind.

Cherry Grind are:

 Sam Patsouris-Vocals, Guitar

Peter Cerlienco-Vocals, Bass

Jack Stevenson-Lead Guitar, Vocals

Zach West-Drums

Review – Craig Grant

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