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Particle Wave - Grand Unifier

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Greg Maechling's delicate, Ray Davies-esque voice, is the first aural element announcing itself on the title track of Particle Wave's new Grand Unifier album. This unique vocal sound, however, can be both a blessing and a curse.

During "What you're after," for example, Maechling's singing --in a breathy tone -- matched with aggressively psychedelic electric guitar, leaves him sounding a little overmatched. In fact, for much of this album, the vocals tend to be overshadowed by its instrumentation. A band like The Smiths also sported a rather fey singer in Morrissey. However, their producers and engineers always found a way to keep this distinctive vocalist's singing at the forefront of all the mixes. This sonic inequality makes it a little tough to truly appreciate Particle Wave's unique sound.

"Mr. Lonely," which has a punk-ish, bass-centered groove, especially drowns out Maechling. I'm not sure if it's Bryce Stoddart - or Maechling himself - is playing the groovy electric guitar leads during "Mr. Lonely," but these psychedelic runs are truly the star of this track.

Either Maechling needs to find a softer musical bed to sing over, or Particle Wave must tamp down its sound a little. But somewhere, something's got to give. There are some worthy musical ideas expressed throughout Grand Unifier, but the overall mix is so frustrating, it ends up being an album of great potential, rather than simply a great album for all its merits.

Particle Wave - Grand Unifier
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