Great Divide - Great Divide
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Effortless. That's the easiest way to describe the eponymous sophomore album from Chicago's Great Divide. Ostensibly a horn-driven soul-pop band, the quintet that is Great Divide are arguably one of roots music's up-and-comers. The most immediate trait about Great Divide that is worth mentioning is vocalist Teddy Grossman's soulful croon. Channeling the likes of Gavin DeGraw and Amos Lee, Grossman has a swerve and zest that immediately make Great Divide a band worth paying attention to.
Whether its the freewheeling opener "Ain't No Roads," ore the more introspective "Morrie," the disc starts off with a propulsive bang. The rollicking "Holday," carries things forward with aplomb, while the midtempo, horn-drenched "Hold You In My Arms," pines the depths of love in a way that is neither derivative nor saccharine. The disc's first half concludes with the sun-kissed "Shine," an old-school slice of acoustic soul that drips with swagger and polish.
The second act of Great Divide opens with "Autumn Leaves," a guitar-driven effort that most likely would falter in anyone else's hands, but in the hands of this septet it works itself rather well and only elucidates just how talented this collective truly is. It should be noted that if the bridge at the 1:39 in "Autumn Leaves," doesn't grab you, then Great Divide most likely is not the band for you. The Delta-inspired "Fast Train," employs a bit of restraint and in doing so makes arguably one of the strongest statements on the disc.
The swerving "Tennessee," is an open highway anthem wrapped up in three minutes of searing guitar work, while the sweetly affecting "It's Alright," is the very definition of ear candy. The album finishes with "Step Back," an effort that drips with all the trappings of New Orleans and "Easy Chair," a piano-driven ballad that seems destined to find its way into TV shows and public consumption.
The real genius of Great Divide is that the disc feels too easy. Never once does the album seem forced or like a band trying too hard. It almost feels as if the band has ten more albums like this up their sleeve. If indeed that is the case, than the Chicago music scene can consider themselves blessed. Having this band in their backyard is a true treasure.
Amen! Thank God somebody else hears what I hear. Cheers, dude.
I saw the album on iTunes this morning and listened to some clips. I just love when singers have that soulful type voice, and when their vice gets gravely/super powerful when they yell/sing loudly. Maybe that made no sense but oh well haha. I'm definitely gonna stream the whole thing on Rdio.