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Record Reviews
Six to Midnight

Grinspoon
Six to Midnight

13 Track, LP (2009, Chk Chk Boom Records/Universal)
Related: Grinspoon.


Superman had his Fortress of Solitude; Leonard Cohen had his Tower of Song; Phil Jamieson has his Monumental Self-Pity. Painstakingly carved from more than a decade's worth of the blurry stuff made when late nights become early mornings, it is Jamieson's life work.

While some people collect beer coasters or make ships in bottles, Jamieson complains. And as long as he keeps being himself, he will never run out of material. because every last one of his woes – drinking, drugging, fighting - is self-inflicted. The sheer silliness of the whole exercise makes it difficult to stomach, but that doesn't stop Jamieson (and band) serving up another 13 slices of monotonal pain, each track a full meal of meat, potatoes and fine whine.

It's an all-repeat workday. Cop this lyrical range, from first track to last - and if you find it tiresome to read, imagine listening to 40-odd minutes of this nonsense:

"She's laughing while he's crying" (‘Dogs’). "All that I know is that I'm afraid" (‘Run’). "Where do all the empty people go with their dreams" (‘Comeback’). "You only want to see me go away" (‘Takes One’). "There's a pain in my chest and it hurts like hell" (‘Strange Premonitions’). "All of your memories have faded" (‘Right Now’). "I can see the storm approaching" (‘Give You More’). "Why'd you have to cheat on me? Now I feel like you've stolen everything from me" (‘Lockdown’). "You made the past a lie now the future has come undone" (‘Tonight’). "I stand defeated" (‘Passenger’). "You were walking by yourself down a dark lonely street" (‘Innocence’). "Liar liar you’re a cheat" (‘Surrender’). "Like a wound I will just let it bleed" (‘Summer’).

While there are as many emotional notes hit as there are keys on a piano with all its strings busted, musically Grinspoon are mixing it up a little. The band dutifully, if not entirely competently, runs through a variety of hackneyed musical tropes ranging from their familiar sub-Helmet riffage through soft-loud rock to looped-up balladry.

It's all going nowhere fast. The riff that opens ninth track ‘Tonight’ was hardly new when Metallica gave it an airing on their single ‘One’. Right now, it has all the minty freshness of a day-old fart. On ‘Passenger’, Jamieson tries his hand at shouty versus sung, crabcore style, but the band lack the epic synth breakdowns to carry it off with conviction. And closing track ‘Summer’ exposes Jamieson's singing voice against looped strings - possibly not a wise move.

Grinspoon's fans (who exist, if not in great enough number to propel this record to gold sales at the time of writing) seem to be hailing this as a return to form for the 'Spoon, as if that was a concept with any possible meaning. For the rest of us, the temptation is to make fun of Phil's pain. Difficult as it is, the temptation should be resisted. It just encourages him.

by Marcus Lester

Related Artists


Your Comments

celluloid hero  said about 5 years ago:

why are m+n writers contracted to review major label records? the review is always negative, and we all know grinspoon sucks, so what's the point? shouldn't they be reviewing things that don't get reviewed in every other fuckin publication in the country? this has probably been brought up a million times but i just get this feeling every time i see a review for powderfinger or grinspoon or jet...


josejones  said about 5 years ago:

why are m+n writers contracted to review major label records?
they're not

the review is always negative, and we all know grinspoon sucks, so what's the point?
to provide actual analysis of these records. the kind you don't get in streetpress and the mainstream media.

shouldn't they be reviewing things that don't get reviewed in every other fuckin publication in the country?
we do this everyday.

this has probably been brought up a million times but i just get this feeling every time i see a review for powderfinger or grinspoon or jet...
this happens less than you think.


celluloid hero  said about 5 years ago:

they always have a smug tone to them. i get that from them anyway

and i know m+n does that every day but i was saying in this instance, something more worthwhile in the eyes of the readership here could have been reviewed.

anyway, i shouldn't really be complaining since it didn't cost me anything. i'm just questioning the motive.


Ash-showoff  said about 5 years ago:

I don't find it funny laughing about anyone's pain, sorry.


josejones  said about 5 years ago:

and i know m+n does that every day but i was saying in this instance, something more worthwhile in the eyes of the readership here could have been reviewed.

don't fret. we'll have another review up later today. everyone wins!


anonymous  said about 5 years ago:

until elevenmagazine starts reviewing again, there's no one place i more trust to review albums along the lines of grinspoon then messandnoise. Once this situation is rectified, they can go back to reviewing obscure sheet music only recordings of 14 piece noise collectives from orbost made in 1987.

thankyou.


Ash-showoff  said about 5 years ago:

What's with Eleven? No movement there for ages.


FrankieTeardrop  said about 5 years ago:

Ash-showoff said 1 hour ago:

I don't find it funny laughing about anyone's pain, sorry.

Interesting point. I reckon if an artist puts it out there, especially so consistently, they would have to accept that not everybody will receive these outpourings the same way. Either it's heartfelt poetry, or it's a bunch of cliches strung together for effect. Whatever it is, it's out there for listeners to analyse (and possibly ridicule).


Ash-showoff  said about 5 years ago:

Totally.
I personally don't find it funny is all.


Zaphod  said about 5 years ago:

STOP AGREEING.


King_Rat  said about 5 years ago:

Fucking tits and tits all round.

None of you cunts would like the Grinspoon record so what's the problem? If you waste your time reading what you already know then you're the sucker. If the guy who writes it gets paid you're still the sucker. If you actually like Grinspoon you're also, the fucking sucker.

With that said I still know how to play a bunch of Grinspoon songs from my 14yo lifetime.


JunkiePhil  said about 5 years ago:

With that said I still know how to play a bunch of Grinspoon songs from my 14yo lifetime.

Amen to that!
haha...
Geezuz.
I even went out and got the same pedal they used.
peice a shit.


Block  said about 5 years ago:

Um, the review specifically says people shouldn't make fun.

For the rest of us, the temptation is to make fun of Phil's pain. Difficult as it is, the temptation should be resisted.

And yes I added the missing ''us'' to that quote.


juice_terry  said about 5 years ago:

can you play dead cat?


Ash-showoff  said about 5 years ago:

I think the reviewer spent far too much energy on picking out all the emotional lines.
I wonder if that was something that jumped out of the LP or something he went in search for......


King_Rat  said about 5 years ago:

I played it three times then forgot. What the fuck?


Ash-showoff  said about 5 years ago:

Three times....


letterbox  said about 5 years ago:

chk chk boom records? ha.


Block  said about 5 years ago:

Maybe it comes with a lyric sheet.


Ash-showoff  said about 5 years ago:

Ha, maybe.


JunkiePhil  said about 5 years ago:

I can play a wicked one thats in drop D
It's the one that go's
DOOOOW DUGA DOWWW DA, DOW DUGA DOWWW DA.
DEE DE DOO, DUNGA DA DOO, DA DUNGA DA DA


King_Rat  said about 5 years ago:

Nah man that's Shidad


King_Rat  said about 5 years ago:

Shihad.

Shedad - Coined?


JunkiePhil  said about 5 years ago:

Fuck'N!


Ash-showoff  said about 5 years ago:

I got beaten up while Dead Cat was playing at a high school party way back in 98.


JunkiePhil  said about 5 years ago:

I got my nose smashed in to Linkin Park at the Y2K shit


unvisible  said about 5 years ago:

It seems weird to me to say that M+N shouldn't occasionally review bands like Grinspoon/Powderfinger/The Living End etc, simply because everyone else also reviews them.

It's not exactly a secret that the standard of music journalism in Australia's street press/glossy music mags/newspaper entertainment supplements is pretty lacklustre, especially when it comes to the reviews section, and especially when it comes to reviewing bands that take out a lot of advertising.

I, for one, appreciate reading a review that deviates from the standard ''Bravo! Another triumph for (insert depressingly mediocre career rockers here)!!!'' party line and actually reviews the record on its own merits, or lack thereof.

Also, I don't mind admitting that I do find his ''pain'' to be pretty amusing.


devastatingguest  said about 5 years ago:

I, for one, appreciate reading a review that deviates from the standard ''Bravo! Another triumph for (insert depressingly mediocre career rockers here)!!!'' party line and actually reviews the record on its own merits, or lack thereof.

Id argue that it seems to be more popular to slag records than prop them up in streetpress these days. That's if they even still run CD reviews.


intruder  said about 5 years ago:

Heard DCX3 for the first time in ages the other day - made me realise that Grinspoon were actually pretty good for the 2-dimensional Helmet rip-offs they started out as. The production and guitar tones were pretty good as well.

If they wanted a return to form, they should just go back to that and add a bit of energy to it - the new stuff that even approaches what they did back then lacks any sense of heaviness.


Goal attack  said about 5 years ago:

I love seeing commercial release reviews here, but some are better than others. There's no page limit to the website, so they migt as well put everything online, particularly if there's a potential for a good read. The above review was ok, not awesome.

I read an interview with Phil in Beat or Inpress to promote this record, two things I noticed about it:

  1. The interviewer was waaaay too positive for the article to be read objectively (but that's a common fault with street press)

  2. Phil defended his lyrics and song subjects as not being about him (particularly in reference to ''Comeback''). So with that in mind when I read this:

And as long as he keeps being himself, he will never run out of material. because every last one of his woes – drinking, drugging, fighting - is self-inflicted.

I picture Phil, standing tall saying ''aha! It's not even about me!''

Observe:


FrankieTeardrop  said about 5 years ago:

Songwriter in ''aha! It's not even about me'' shock! More news at 11.


devastatingguest  said about 5 years ago:

Mmmm look at those sexy Vox amps..,


montyclift  said about 5 years ago:

while accepting the utter crapitude of the 'spoon...

of course, the indie kid manky cardigan wearers so oft championed by mess & noise don't make music where their angst, suffering, and complaints are the ever repeating centrepiece of their 'art', now do they?


locky  said about 5 years ago:

i can't imagine how gay you must have felt after clicking 'post comment'


registradus  said about 5 years ago:

I don't know why I read this.

the review is always negative, and we all know grinspoon sucks, so what's the point?
to provide actual analysis of these records. the kind you don't get in streetpress and the mainstream media.

What's written above provides no ''actual analysis'', just cheap shots at an easy target.


CaptainFez  said about 5 years ago:

Bravo, Monty.


yoghurt  said about 5 years ago:

Phil should take up ice again.


timmydodgers  said about 5 years ago:

ouch. and i haven't heard this and probably won't but as I get older i start to believe that ''major label'' doesn't necessarily mean shite. powderfinger have written some great songs, as have the living end.

grinspoon, i 'm not qualified to comment. but he was great in the white album shows...

(now i'm going to burn)


celluloid hero  said about 5 years ago:

yeah i wasn't saying that was the case. it's the way the major label reviews and features are written that bothers me


NiteShok  said about 5 years ago:

I enjoyed this comment thread/grinspoon reminiscence more than the review itself


andydepressant  said about 5 years ago:

I do enjoy seeing shit bands being called on it but Celluloid does have a point. It really depends on whether or not M+N is seen as a loose collective of writers doing whatever piece interests them or whether it is a magazine with a view to extensively covering a scene. From the 'About Us' page it really could be either but not both. I guess I'd rather see a Wifey ep review than a Grinspoon panning but that's is a view pretty soaked in agenda. The thing with a big band is that it's a shared language. It's the same reason people seem put on Rick Astley songs on a jukebox; it's not really about music; it's a way to position yourself in a society and demonstrate your values via irony or derision or cringing etc. Reading about something you've never heard and might never hear is not engaging in the same way.


FrankieTeardrop  said about 5 years ago:

Hang on a sec.... what makes Grinspoon any less valid as Australian music than, say, My Disco? Why shouldn't their music be analysed in the same way Eddy Current's might be?

Two examples that might serve as food for thought:

The French Cinematheque magazine in the 1960s contained serious critical essays on both the avant garde Nouvelle Vague cinema and the mainstream Hollywood fare that the new film makers were both inspired by and subverting.

Lester Bangs (bless his drug-addled pointy head) was able to write equally eloquently about The Godz and Jethro Tull, both in the same publication.


Block  said about 5 years ago:

FrankieTeardrop said 2 minutes ago:
Hang on a sec.... what makes Grinspoon any less valid as Australian music than, say, My Disco? Why shouldn't their music be analysed in the same way Eddy Current's might be?

Good point.

Also, without wishing to give away Danny & Darren's trade secrets, this idea that some people seem to have, that there is an over-arching ''philosophy'' behind M+N, is not entirely correct. In fact, in my experience it is barely correct at all.


FrankieTeardrop  said about 5 years ago:

OMG! Noooo...!


Block  said about 5 years ago:

Calm down, Frankie- I wasn't talking about the Scientology. That's here to stay.


FrankieTeardrop  said about 5 years ago:

Phew! I was worried you might need to be audited all over again, Block.


montyclift  said about 5 years ago:

absolutely, they - and as wide a cross-section of australian music - should be reviewed.

but it was just predictable: 'they're shit, you know it, here's further proof'.

i actually expect a bit more than that from m&n...


andydepressant  said about 5 years ago:

It ain't that one is more valid than another. M+N is clearly providing an alternative by reviewing the same old stuff from a different perspective. Celluloid's thing is that the same space that a grinspoon review appears in could be used to uncover something else. The problem with that view is that it is based on M+N being limited by space or quota when it's only limitation is the interests of the people working/volunteering here.


moo-core  said about 5 years ago:

Smug is lame. Particularly if it lacks funny. This and the Liam Finn review both smacked of smug.

Whereas i like Liam Finn, i don't give a shit about Grinspoon but the smug still bored me.

And there wasn't even i hint of analysis so in reality, this is no more valid a review than overly positive ones in street press or wherever.


celluloid hero  said about 5 years ago:

frankie i agree, my point was more what montyclift was saying. i don't have a problem with m+n reviewing grinspoon, i dont really see any reason why they shouldn't - except that every time a band like grinspoon does get reviewed, it's always done in that smug elitist way which renders it pointless. if you've made up your mind about something before you've heard it...don't bother reviewing it.


semblance  said about 5 years ago:

what a depressing thread.


anok  said about 5 years ago:

agree on the smugness. 3/4rs of the review is spent rubbing phil's nose in his own shit. it's a tiresome read well before any lyrics are quoted.


intruder  said about 5 years ago:

It'd be alright if it was well-written smugness. Look at the review of the new Jet album for how to write a balanced review on a shit band.


untold/animals  said about 5 years ago:

I printed it out and stuck it on my wall!


untold/animals  said about 5 years ago:

ps. will you MILFs please knock it off?


josejones  said about 4 years ago:

Jamieson hits back over at FasterLouder:

I think the last time we spoke it was prior to the release of Six To Midnight. How have [you] felt about the response to it so far, from both critics and fans?
Well your review didn’t say anything at all, it as just this mush of nothing.

It was a bit different to the Mess and Noise one.
The Mess and Noise review was unintentionally hilarious, as Mess and Noise always is. They somehow assume I write the lyrics, which was funny too. Critically I think Alibis was received better, but sold less and I think Six To Midnight sold more, but I’m not sure.


LoadMyRig  said about 4 years ago:

who writes the lyrics then?


rosevich  said about 4 years ago:

the dead cat


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Tracklisting
  • 1.   Dogs
  • 2.   Run
  • 3.   Comeback
  • 4.   Takes One
  • 5.   Premonitions
  • 6.   Right Now
  • 7.   Give You More
  • 8.   Lockdown
  • 9.   Tonight
  • 10.   Passenger
  • 11.   Innocence
  • 12.   Surrender
  • 13.   Summer
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