Apparently there is, or was, a Southern Californian Psych/Surf band called Particle Wave and now its frontman, Greg Maeching, has recorded a six song EP titled Answer To Influence under the band name Greg And The Granules. I don't know if this is a side project or if he's moved on and his old band is history. This new EP was recorded in New Monkey Studios in Van Nuys with the help of Tyler Shields on the board and Maeching, who plays guitar and sings, and guitarist-keyboardist Nick Luca sharing the production duties. Joe Westerfield rounds out the band on drums and they give a credit to Amanda Brauer for design (CD cover?). I don't really understand the designer credit since their press kit was particularly void of design.
These guys are local to me if they're anywhere near Van Nuys, a suburb of Los Angeles, and where I used to go to cruise Van Nuys Boulevard on Wednesday nights back in High School and where I'll still go to get a Tommy's Burger if I'm anywhere in the neighborhood. My point is that I would like to have been informed if Greg And The Granules are going to be performing live in town any time soon.
Their press kit states: "Answer To Influence floats with ease through myriad layers of resonating expression to create a transporting experience of calmness and comfort for the listener." Somnolent is another term that might apply. Laid back also fits with the soft and vibrato vocals and overall vibe reminding me of early Barry Gibb. Vaguely Countryish guitar work with some Flyod Cramer piano gives this CD an ALT-Country sound and the in your face vocal mix but very soft, whispery vocals ala Elliot Smith, never really let loose but are atmospheric.
Although recorded in stereo it has a very restricted range of depth that almost approaches mono and even though the vocals are upfront and clear I completely mix the “concept EP” element since I have a very difficult time understanding the lyrics. To be fair I have a hard time understanding sung lyrics in general and would have liked to have had access to a lyrics sheet.
The songs are all pretty similar until you get half way through then there is a “Paxton’s Back Street Carnival” feel that brings back some of the sounds of the Psychedelic era of the 1960s, but for only one minute and forty-three seconds. The remaining two numbers pick it up a bit and the feel gets more rock.
According to Greg And The Granules; "The album brings forth an elegantly emotional concept EP centered on exploring the nature of reality. Through a lens of incredulous optimism, Answer to Influence offers a personal story of transition from the burdensome yoke of cynicism to the freedom of unwavering gratitude." They say it a lot better than I'd say, mostly because I wouldn't say it. Again, it may be my fault I couldn't follow their song lyrics since the vocal mix is a bit on the low end, EQ wise, and I may have lost some of those frequencies in my hearing over time (I did play guitar in a Hard Rock band for decades).
Overall the EP is a mellow, soothing, atmospheric sonic massage of the ears that if you can follow the story of the lyrics might actually take you somewhere other than Dreamland. Which, if that's where it does take you, is a pleasant way to go.