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Groovy Uncle - Searching for the Grown-Ups

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 16 / 11 / 2021



Groovy Uncle - Searching for the Grown-Ups
Label: Trouserphonic Recordings
Format: CD

intro

Excellent latest gem from Medway’s Groovy Uncle, this time recorded at home by main man Glenn Prangnell


There was never any doubt that Glenn Prangnell is an excellent singer. The Groovy Uncle main man could occasionally sound like not only Paul McCartney but also John Lennon, though more often than not he sounded like, well, Glenn Prangnell. But Prangnell wasn’t the standout vocalist on many of the Groovy Uncle songs spread over the eight earlier albums bearing that name. His choice of female vocalists was exceptional. He introduced us to Suzi Chunk and Miss Modus, both who, like Prangnell, are inspired by the classic singers of the ‘60s. Many times those expressive vocalists stole the show. Now, although not exactly a solo Prangnell album, ‘Searching For The Grown-Ups', was recorded by Prangnell alone, vocally at least. Lockdown meant this latest batch of ‘60s inspired pop put paid to visits to traditional recording studios, so Prangnell recorded these songs at home, alone, no Suzi, no Miss Modus. So it was with a little sadness that we approached this dozen new songs. Chunk and Modus would be sorely missed especially without the use of a full studio. But we shouldn’t have doubted Prangnell, with the addition of brass, strings, a little extra guitar and piano added by a handful of musicians remotely, ‘Searching For The Grown-Ups’ is a far cry from being a lo-fi home recoding. Despite the lack of those female vocals we have loved for so long and which are an essential part of the Groovy Uncle sound, this latest opus stands proudly against any previous Groovy Uncle album. Prangnell is well-known for his hook-filled ‘60s influenced sound and it’s business as usual here. And although written and recorded during lockdown while the world was confused, frightened and many were depressed, it’s a surprisingly ‘up’ set of songs. Any thoughts of a home recording are squashed the second the opening ‘Saturday Morning’ plays. Beginning like the theme to a sixties detective TV show the brass (courtesy of Tom Morely) led instrumental progresses into an uplifting piece that will still be swirling around your head hours after first hearing it. That brass also opens the jaunty ‘Grown-Ups’; classic Groovy Uncle complete with the usual Prangnell wit and observations. “The future’s a thing of the past”, is one of the best lines in such an upbeat song I’ve heard. ‘Cool It Down’ is typical Groovy Uncle, a raucous beat song, and proves once again that Prangnell is not only a master at writing catchy pop melodies but also a lyricist worthy of comparison to Ray Davies. With David Read adding some inspiring lead guitar work it’s an early highlight of the album. ‘He Misses You’, as the title suggests, is a love lost song and it’s here where Prangnell’s s 60's influences shine through brightly. It could have been taken straight off an early Beatles album. It’s that good. With brilliant harmonies, lovely strings and a heartfelt vocal from Prangnell, it’s a perfect pop song. ‘Not Inclined To Do’ is one of those songs the listener feels they’ve heard a hundred times before but which still sounds totally fresh. It’s another slice of ‘60's-inspired pop and Prangnell’s vocals are outstanding here; after a dozen or more plays this set of ears still can’t place which vocalist Prangnell recalls here. It should be noted; on first and second plays of ‘Searching For Grown-Ups’ before each song is familiar every time a new track begins, you’ll find yourself thinking this is the best cut on the album. Then the next one starts… ‘That Sinking Feeling’ is another song where early Beatles come to mind,. Complete with period jangle and twang from Prangnell’s guitars\ it’s another classic. ‘Saturday Afternoon’ finds Prangnell replacing the brass of the opener with vocals, a nice touch and proof once again that those comparisons to Ray Davies are more than justified. The closing ‘Gravesend’ has lyrics written and spoken by Vic Templer which are taken from Templer’s book, ‘Taking Candy From A Dog’, and will having the listener searching for said book. Prangnell’s musical accompaniment is one of the most experimental he’s yet unleashed to the public. While the track is the most unlike what we have come to expect from Groovy Uncle, it is an absolute success and one hopes that Prangnell (with Templar?) will maybe expand on this type of recording in the future. ‘Searching For The Grown-Ups’ then ; despite the lack of Suzi and Miss Modus (and we hope they come back soon!) it’s still ranks as one of the best in Groovy Uncle’s body of work. Oh, and there’s the usual excellent artwork from Darryl Hartley.



Track Listing:-
1 Saturday Morning
2 Grown-Ups
3 Cool It Down
4 He Misses You
5 Jimmy Joined A Gym
6 Not Inclined To Do
7 Too Tired To Do Stuff
8 That Sinking Feeling
9 Start All Over Again
10 Watch Me Fly
11 Saturday Afternoon
12 Gravesend


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groovy-Uncle/355746567693
http://craftweb.org/web/glenn/index.html
http://craftweb.org/web/glenn/index.html
http://groovy-uncle.co.uk/


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interviews


Interview (2014)
Groovy Uncle - Interview
Malcolm Carter talks to Glenn Prangnell, the front man with 60's-influenced Medway-based act Groovy Uncle's recently released third album, ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth'

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One Vowel Away From the Truth/Life's a Gift (2020)
Groovy Uncle - One Vowel Away From the Truth/Life's a Gift
Malcolm Carter reflects on the reissue of two of 60's pop-influenced Medway-based band Groovy Uncle’s finest albums on extremely limited vinyl.


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Meanwhile Back in Medieval Britain (2018)
Fabulous seventh album from 60's pop influenced act Groovy Uncle which features songwriting contributions from Andy Morten and members of the Senior Service, but which at another level proves to be business as usual
A Clip Round the Ear (2017)
Life's a Gift (2016)
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