Grafton – S/T


Grafton would be a hit if they entered a warp zone that placed them in 1849, the peak year of the California Gold Rush. Grafton’s dirty, aggressive rock would provide a perfect soundtrack to the thievery, murder, and overall negativity of the period (the vast majority of miners were unsuccessful in their search for gold). Any of Grafton’s 13 under-three-minute songs would motivate the release of enough adrenaline in a 49er’s body to allow for a quick steal of gold from an unsuspecting neighbor.
Interestingly enough, vocalist and guitarist Lou Poster is in fact the son of a miner. Indeed, song titles such as “Phineas Gage” and “Oxblood” cover topics that the son of an accountant would not dare conceive. Remember Phineas Gage? I know I do. He was a respected railroad worker, who, in 1848, had an accident on the job, resulting in the piercing of his frontal lobes by a tamping rod. The poor chap survived, but he sustained emotional damage, and his personality transformed into an undesirable one – he became a really bad dude.
Likewise, Poster is not out to compliment others and talk about touchy-feely subjects. On the album’s most easily digestible song, “The Best Part of La Grange,” in perhaps the most memorable (and most easily decipherable) lyric, he howls, “The best part of La Grange is that I’m never going back!” The closest Porter comes to sentimental is when he speaks kindly of gravity in the shortest and least rawky 40-second song, “A Toast to Gravity”: “I know we seem to fight a lot / especially when I drink … I know you’ll slowly wear me down / and drive me to my death / but in spite of all our differences / I feel like I should thank you / thank you for sticking me in Ohio.” The other under-one-minute song, “The Monongha Mine Report,” is less developed than the aforementioned song, feeling like only part of a song. It fades in at great speed with what would be the chorus in a song of normal length (backing vocals are even put to use) and then fades out no more that 50 seconds later.
Grafton’s single guitar, bass, and drums whip out consistently fast-paced, raw, yet surprisingly melodic and hummable rock. And while the songs tend to sound like one another simply because of the lack of variety in instruments, the album does not bore the listener. Clocking in at less than 30 minutes, Grafton’s debut seems half that length. Grafton is not your average band, and it can be difficult to take to their music. But if the song “Tom Sellek” doesn’t make you want to head on down to Sutter’s Mill to seek gold and gamble, I don’t know what will. Grafton is easier digested when sporting an unshaven face and cowboy boots.