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Sons of Hippies - Griffons at the Gates of Heaven

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 13 / 8 / 2013

Sons of Hippies - Griffons at the Gates of Heaven
Label: Cleopatra Records
Format: CD


Excellent second album from Tennessee-based band Sons of Hippies, which has a surprising alt.rock edge

The legend says that the band Sons of Hippies was conceived high in the mountains of Tennessee at a festival on a 700-acre farm on a sunny June afternoon whilst frolicking with fellow music lovers. Legend also has it that their name originated when one Jonas Canales, a Brazilian native, and Florida-bred Katherine Kelly probed familial bonds to discover they were indeed children of hippies. The duo soon realised that their dreamily melodic yet complex synthesized music required some professional mentorship. They quickly rendered the services of one Tom Klimchuck. a guitarist who produced and played bass on the Sons of Hippies' 2009 debut, 'Warriors of the Light', which received the critic’s choice award from Tampa’s popular creative loafing publication for 'Best Modern-Sounding Record' of 2009. Being a duo obviously had its downfalls so in 2011 Sons of Hippies became a trio with the intervention of bassist David Daly who, if you didn't know already, is also working on a solo project called 'Completely from Mountains'. Th trio signed with Cleopatra Records at the end of 2012 and this a second full length album was scheduled for release in 2013. And bang on time here it is. 'Griffons at the Gates of Heaven', mixed by Jack Endino of Nirvana, and Mudhoney fame and mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Radiohead, David Bowie and U2 maestro Andy Walter, is a good second offering from Sons of Hippies. I suppose you would expect this album, judging by the name, to be all flowery and spangles. Well, no. This is quite a dark and deep album even if in parts it is a little cloudy lyrically. Opener 'Forward' is a colourful whirlwind and has almost tribal vibes with its dark unexpected groove. That dark side darkens further with 'Dark Daisies' a powerful jaunt but one which gets your feet going, while 'Rose' shows the other side of Sons of Hippies as it has more of a pop sound to it. 'Spaceship Ride' is another highlight with it post-punk guitar and a beat guaranteed to keep you hooked as it buzzes along with its vocal cries of "turn your radio on". 'Minute By Minute' a battleground of a song, meanwhile has changes so sharp it could give you whiplash, and reminds me of wailing Banshees mixed with a bit of Kate Bush. This is a powerful, well crafted and produced slab of modern alt. rock. Front girl Kelly has a really strong, emotive voice that sometimes growls with a husky Chrissie Hynde edge. If you find you want to just indulge yourself and take a few minutes off to be somewhere else, there's no finer way to do it than with this. With its richly decorated black and red album cover with psychedelic twizzlings, this album proves to be more far than it initially suggests it is.

Track Listing:-
1 Forward
2 Mirrorball
3 Dark Daisies
4 Rose
5 Spaceship Ride
6 Man or Moon
7 Magnets
8 Blood in the Water
9 Whatever We Spend
10 Minute X Minute
11 Animal Battle
12 Cautionary Tale

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