Sebastien Grainger

Yours to Discover

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Coming along five years after his solo debut, former (and current) Death from Above 1979 member Sebastien Grainger's second solo album ramps up the energy and delivers on the power promise he so dramatically displayed the first time around. 2013's Yours to Discover is a bursting-at-the-seams blast of fevered rock & roll that starts off rocking like a small-scale hurricane and rarely lets up. Adding a tightly wound new wave element to the already tight power pop sound he nailed on Sebastien Grainger & the Mountains, Grainger packs the songs here with choppy guitars, sparkling synths, and slashing drums to come up with something not too dissimilar to Peter Bjorn and John, only more power-packed. Or maybe like New Pornographers with all the irony and reserve stripped away and the vocalist plugged directly into a wall socket. From the start, Grainger's vocals are very, very dramatic and revved up like a muffler-free muscle car. Whether he's drawling saucily in his best Phil Lynott or shredding the mike like a soul revue shouter, he's always the center of attention. A great voice without great songs to sing is a wasted resource, but Grainger delivers a batch that are a sharp as a switchblade. Tightly wound, jumped-up rockers like "Waking Up the Dead" rub up against pleading ballads ("I'm Looking for a Hand"), sexy, late-night disco groovers ("Let's Move to NYC"), touching elegies for lost friends (the tear-filled "Some People Are Ghosts Too Soon"), and modern new wave guitar/synth pop ("I Don't Believe in Ghosts") that's a little majestic and a lot enticing. Throughout the album Grainger pleads, declaims, and cajoles like a traveling salesman or preacher, looking for love and demanding attention. It's a tour de force performance that's almost matched by the songs and the band (well, Grainger plays everything) and results in an album that may have taken a long time to arrive, but arrives like a bolt of lightning that knocks down everything in its path for miles around. Anyone looking for some no-frills, straight from the heart indie rock that has no time for preciousness or TV commercial-ready softness, could do much worse than Sebastien Grainger and this jaw-droppingly good album.

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