February 17, 2016

The Grawks: Dynamical Review

(Independent Release) Local four-piece band The Grawks are part of a small but fervent Classic City scene that specializes in a specific brand of no-frills, no-nonsense rock and roll—see also The Honey Sliders and The VG Minus, as well as forebearer The Plague—and they take that scene’s most improved player award with Dynamical, the group’s first full-length.

The Grawks succeed when they stick to the glam-punk script, as on “Emotional Fist,” which features a snaking guitar lead, some tasteful wah-wah action and an unhinged performance from frontman Steve Phillips, or “Gun To My Head,” a similarly high-energy burner. They’re less convincing on tunes like “In Your Sea,” a mid-tempo country number, or “Stick Around,” which channels middle-era Neil Young at his most banal.

In terms of both song and recording quality, Dynamical is a vast improvement from The Grawks’ early demos. It likely won’t turn many heads outside of Athens, but if you’re looking for a local band that adequately channels the sound and passion of early-‘70s proto-punk, you could do a lot worse.