From Austin, TX comes the brothers Jason and Joel Harrison forming Grand Ephemeris. Raised by a Louisiana cotton farmer, the brothers have a natural raw, gritty, country twang to their sound. The duo wanted to explore the themes such as man vs creator and human vs nature. However they wanted to tackle the subjects in their unique Americana style with a slide guitar banjo, harmonica and raucous rhythms. They worked with musicians from Texas, Oklahoma and Florida. Over the last five years the pair released a few collections. They released a nine-song album Votive Viscera. Now they bring their new EP Atlassian Breaks.
The album opens with the title track “Atlassian Breaks.” Right away you are greeted with the warm welcome of an acoustic guitar and a whistling harmonica. While the tone is pleasant, the lyrics portray the challenges humans face against the gods. “Standing in for Atlas as he / Finishes his cigarette. / It’s a million light-years long and / Zeus couldn’t give a shit.” And while the verses may be a bit darker, Grand Ephemeris counters it with a blissful chorus simply singing “La dee da.”
The band gets a little more psychedelic on the next song “Hands So Sleight.” Again they continue questioning the actions of the Gods, usually Greek mythology as examples St. Helen and Atlantis.
The chirping of birds opens up “Westport Hymn.” The slow jam lets Grand Ephemeris strike a good balance with guitar and piano keys before introducing the drums. The song feels shorter than it actually is due to the drawn out lyrics and pacing. Regardless it’s a dreamy, peaceful tune to vibe out to. The band wraps up the album on “Men of the Cloth.” It’s their most ambitious track as it starts off a little soft. But as the song progresses so does the intensity of the instrumentation. “Men of the Cloth” is the band’s most dynamic song of the album. It breaks away with a wonderful squealing guitar solo with the drums and piano keys playing right along. Accompanied with heavenly vocals it feels like a celebration of life and the ending of the world.
The Harrison brothers and company should be proud of their album. They do a good job exploring the love-hate relationship humanity has with celestial bodies. One moment we look to the heavens for solace and meaning while at the same time cursing the same gods and draw them as vengeful. Added with the southern twist and strong storytelling by the brothers displayed allows them to have fun with the concepts with the Gods that both bless and wreck havoc on the Earth. The fact that Grand Ephemeris tackles Neptune and Zeus makes them Hercules!
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