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The Chamber From Here to There

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Album Review

Reveling in his idiosyncrasies, Robby Grant's second solo release is a bizarre combination of lo-fi avant-folk, noise collage, and hipster pop. As The Chamber From Here to There is an entirely one-man show, Grant is left to allow his hit-or-miss tendencies to flourish outside of the reach of his Big Ass Truck partners Steve Selvidge and Robert Barnett. While his quirks may grow tiresome for the less resilient listener, the admittedly spontaneous style of songwriting is ultimately endearing for its sheer audacity. Elastic time signatures struggle to accommodate eruptions of hidden choruses, unexpected bridges, and songs within songs. All the while, Grant yelps with all the uninhibited glee of David Byrne over tales of children turning into tree stumps and people getting their ears pierced. Where tracks like "Grunt Once" come across as fairly standard garage rock, finding a nice medium between early Jonathan Richman and Velvet Underground sounds, most songs are much harder to follow. The quasi electro-funk of "Chocolate Guitars," a song actually about rescuing and preserving guitars made of chocolate, is bound to try the patience of those not completely infatuated with the cut-and-paste aesthetic. In the end, Grant only approaches an extremely fractured approximation of traditional pop songcraft, but fans of Beck, Zappa, and Captain Beefheart could all do worse than to slip a few coins into Grant's Vending Machine.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The moniker for the solo project of Big Ass Truck guitarist Robby Grant, Vending Machine incorporates elements of lo-fi rock, folk, funk, garage, singer/songwriter pop, and whatever else happens to strike Grant's fancy. His debut, Unleavened Bread, was released on Yep Roc in 1997. Having taken the Vending Machine name from a song he wrote while reading over the business section of a newspaper, which is apparently a frequent songwriting inspiration, Grant's four-track follow-up The Chamber From Here...
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The Chamber From Here to There, Vending Machine
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