Justin Grounds - The Dissolving

Tiffany Daniels 14/06/2010

Rating: 5/5

There is nothing more disturbing to me than an appropriation of Radiohead's sound: not only because since their inception countless musicians have tried and failed to imitate the legendary band, but because they were never a favourite of mine in the first place. For those reasons, the opening few minutes of Justin Grounds' The Dissolving finds me in a fairly disturbed state.

Born in England, the singer-songwriter has become somewhat of a troubadour in his later life, travelling to and from America, Canada and Australia. Raised as a classical violinist, he's embraced the piano, guitar and saxophone alongside his nomadic existence; his love for an array of instruments heavily reflects on this, his third album to date; there is a constant drone of aftershock merged into the background of the record that perfectly compliments the overall atmosphere.

Fortunately for Grounds, the pseudo-Yorke impersonation comes to an abrupt end in the form of a distorted howl during the last few bards of opener “The Dissolving”. As he admits, it's “the casting out of demons”; the songs that follow could not be more different. “Night Blessing” and “We Ride” draw from the same sparse fountain of subtle experimental Jeremy Warmsley pillaged on debut The Art of Fiction; forget Ellie Goulding, this is as close to electro-folk as it's possible to stand. Elsewhere “Hold Onto Your Soul” shines through as a highlight, and “In Memoriam” picks up the tempo with its flourishing strings and spoken word. On second listen, even the eponymous track has its unique charm.

Beautiful is often an overused word in the world of musical critique, but in this case it could not be more fitting. Justin Grounds is certainly a master of his trade, and this recording could not be bettered.

Out Now.