Willard Grant Conspiracy
Boston-based music group Willard Grant Conspiracy sure knows how to make a music critic's job tough. Whereas most bands can be blithely described with a few words, WGC practically requires a new genre tag. Stylistically, it's got strong folk-rock and rootsy overtones but isn't exactly Americana. Instead, WGC couches the disquieting angst of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen in the baroque-like elegance of Belle & Sebastian at their most melancholic. Lead singer Robert Fisher's smooth, contemplative baritone has a winning straightforwardness mingled with world-weariness and suspicion. On the ditty "Flying Low," he croons, "And I dreamed I saw the angels flying low/They encompass all that's good, or so I'm told." The album is lent orchestral savor by the regal-sounding violin/viola of Josh Hillman and the yearning trumpet of guest Dennis Cronin. Rendering Roll more cathartic than depressing is WGC's occasional forays into wrenching rockin' dissonance à la Roxy Music and John Cale-era Velvet Underground. Dylan fans may not like the droll, thundering rendition of his "Ballad of a Thin Man." With WGC, it appears that glum is good.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.