Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
London Camden Falcon
Yeehaw. The stage is edged by a white picket fence and the bass drum topped with cow horns, but newcomers Grand Western aren't quite heading down Old El Paso Way just yet...
A young five-piece from south London, they're aiming high, attempting a rock-out, country-pop hybrid of the B-52s, The Cardigans, and The Dandy Warhols for what's only their fifth gig. When it works, it's wonderful, as with the sunny, '60s-esque quirky keyboard pop of their current single 'Just Whistle' or the lovely wide-open-space ballad 'Everything's Changed (It's Not Just Your Hair)'. But too often the band collapse into ragged, tune-strangling splurges of sound.
Holding it together however is nascent star Kirsten France, the female of three vocalists, who looks like a pigtailed indie Britney Spears, only with a better pair of tonsils. Despite a US accent straight outta Guildford, when she sidesteps the occasionally heavy-handed harmonising of her male colleagues to sing more on her own, she shines.
Ultimately, Grand Western are at their best when it's kept simple. And simple's not too hard to achieve.
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