You have to give local quartet Grounders indie rock points for assembling a crack team for their debut full-length. They called on DIANA’s Kieran Adams to play drums and headed into the studio with sound engineer Marcel Ramagnano (Born Ruffians, Absolutely Free) before eventually enlisting Broken Social Scene producer David Newfeld to do his everything-but-the-kitchen-sink thing with their layered psych pop.
Their bio rattles off a long list of retro touchstones from Bowie to Krautrock, and it shows in their approach – burbling synths meet atmospheric vibes in opener Secret Friend, while singer/guitarist Andrew Davis’s laconic vocal style gets drenched in reverb throughout, notably on the hazy, hypnagogic Pull It Over Me.
The tunes that work best harness Grounders’ strength for marrying a memorable melody to a driving rhythm, like the video game blips and bleeps and bouncy guitar lines of Bloor Street And Pressure (summer playlist alert!). This album is far more assured than their 2012 EP, but you can’t help wondering where the band could go once they’ve moved beyond the sum of their influences.
Top track: Bloor Street And Pressure
Grounders play Sneaky Dee’s on June 18 as part of NXNE.