The brilliant Barn Doors and Concrete Floors told an engaging story: what happens when you concentrate a load of Neil Young and Rolling Stones influences into a large, plank-walled byre in upstate New York and then let them run and play.
Gripka’s third album proper, Rain Plans, transplants that methodology to his new home in Texas and concentrates on the Young side of the gene-pool, with greater structural discipline moderating heightened psychedelic sensibility. It’s an attractive sound.
Guitars slap and arpeggiate, tempos stroll and Gripka’s reedy voice surfaces through the murk like a snorkel. But energy levels are down and the songs seem less communicable as a result, as if lost in themselves. It’s a career worth following. Nick Coleman.