Groupoem is a band that reunited a couple years ago after a twenty-five year separation. Ironically, all four members of the band moved from Toronto in the late ‘80s to the Vancouver, British Columbia region. The band released Dirt Church this year.
I was checking out the music on iTunes and the music seems to be inappropriately labeled as metal. This isn’t metal. Groupoem is an off-kilter rock band that has a unique lead vocalist called Marph. Marph blends spoken word and singing but veers more towards spoken word. The most comparable singer would be Craig Finn from The Hold Steady. It should be noted that Terry Robinson is the man songwriter and guitarist of the band.
I’ll say up front that the vocals aren’t for everyone. It’s an acquired taste and I don’t think that is even arguable. On that note it make take some getting used. If at first you aren't sure what to make of it just keep listening and you may come around.
Dirt Church is a hefty album. There are eighteen songs. Lucky the album flows along smoothly in part to the brevity of the songs They average around three to four minutes but some are shorter.
If the music was generic sounding without many changes the vocals wouldn't have worked as well as they did. The music elevates the vocals. In fact I found my ears going back and forth between the music and the vocals. Suffice it to say the music and vocals had a symbiotic relationship that I thought was unique to say the least.
There are a number of highlights. The opener “Slimfast” got my attention and l Ioved the fast energy of “Hall of Shame.” I thought the band worked best when they had a lot of energy. “Unshriveled” had a darker feel to it and “Dirt Church” has a fast ’70s punk vibe.
There are plenty of songs with different flavors which are tied together with the vocals. I really enjoyed this album. It was a grower for me. Take a listen, better yet take a couple. Recommended,
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