The Shouting Matches – Grownass Man
Side projects can be a wonderful thing. They can free up the artist. Allow collaboration. Generate more than the sum of their parts. The Shouting Matches have that potential, bringing together Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Phil Cook of Megafaun, and Brian Moen of Peter Wolf Crier. Indeed, the result is an album that sounds nothing like either Bon Iver, Megafaun, or Peter Wolf Crier. Instead, you’d be forgiven for thinking that The Rolling Stones were the main point of reference. On the opening track, ‘Avery Hill’, Justin Vernon seems only barely to stop himself from singing “Just around midnight”, so closely does the riff resemble ‘Brown Sugar’. But there are other influences too. ‘Seven Sisters’ has a Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac vibe going on. ‘Gallup, NM’ sounds like a track from The Allman Brothers Band during a residency at The Winterland in the early 1970s. The album also ends really nicely with the slowest number, ‘I Need A Change’. Good though these moments are, and ‘Gallup, NM’ is worth putting on repeat, this is no classic. The two blues harmonica-led tracks were probably a good idea in theory, but no so much in practice. ‘I’ll Be True’ has a melody so simple as to be simplistic. And ‘Mother, When?’ picks up the pace, but has little of substance to hang its hooks on. Grownass Man may be no classic, but it’s still worth a listen. And, remember, put ‘Gallup, NM’ on repeat.