Groundhogs

Split

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

As the Groundhogs' best example of their gritty blues-rock fire and unique form of guitar-driven music, Split reveals more about Tony McPhee's character, perseverance, and pure love for performing this style of blues than any other album. Based around the misunderstanding and mystery of schizophrenia, Split takes a raw, bottom-heavy recipe of spirited, spunky guitar riffs (some of the best that McPhee has ever played) and attaches them to some well-maintained and intelligently written songs. The first four tracks are simply titled "Part One" to "Part Four" and instantly enter Split's eccentric, almost bizarre conceptual realm, but it's with "Cherry Red" that the album's full blues flavor begins to seep through, continuing into enigmatic but equally entertaining tracks like "A Year in the Life" and the mighty finale, entitled "Groundhog." Aside from McPhee's singing, there's a noticeable amount of candor in Peter Cruickshank's baggy, unbound percussion, which comes across as aimless and beautifully messy in order to complement the blues-grunge feel of the album. Murky, fuzzy, and wisely esoteric, Split harbors quite a bit of energy across its eight tracks, taking into consideration that so much atmosphere and spaciousness is conjured up by only three main instruments. This album, along with 1972's Who Will Save the World?, are regarded as two of the strongest efforts from the Groundhogs, but Split instills a little bit more of McPhee's vocal passion and dishes out slightly stronger portions of his guitar playing to emphasize the album's theme.

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