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Weekly Alibi Tiny Tunes

David Grier "Panorama"; Lords of Acid "Our Little Secret"

By Michael Henningsen

DECEMBER 8, 1997: 

Alibi Rating Scale:
(based on suggested karaoke duets sung with a friend or loved one)
!!!!!= "Ebony and Ivory"
!!!!= "Summer Lovin'"
!!!= "Dead or Alive"
!!= "I Got You, Babe"
!= "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love"

David Grier Panorama (Rounder)

To simply say that David Grier is a flatpicker of enormous talent would be a travesty--an understatement of catastrophic proportion. For musicians like Grier, the instrument of choice (in this case a 1955 Martin D-18) is quite literally an extension of themselves. To be able to transpose mental music and execute it exactly in the physical and audible realm is a fantastic gift, one that Grier inherited from his father, Lamar, who played with Bill Monroe's band. But even the extremely talented and instinctive players are faced with many and varied problems the instruments themselves present. The guitar, for instance, isn't comfortable to manipulate, possesses less than perfect intonation and requires as much musical knowledge to master as it does motor skills. And to actually master the instrument is quite different from learning to play it, which just about anybody with enough determination can do. David Grier has conquered the guitar, become its respectful master and rules his kingdom with passion, precision, grace and humility.

Panorama, aptly titled to reflect the broad range of styles it encompasses, is a startling work both from a technical standpoint and a spiritual perspective. Grier's calculated passages and transitions sound effortless here, despite their technical intricacy and complexity. Grier moves as he pleases within the confines of the bluegrass tradition, making opportunities of boundaries while immersing himself in deep exploration of the genre. Featuring a handful of Grier's original compositions interspersed with traditional tunes and some fine examples of bluegrass standards courtesy of Doc Watson and Norman Blake, Panorama is much more than a vehicle for Grier's stunning virtuosity. Some of the finest bluegrass players of the day join him here for a remarkable exercise in ensemble playing.

In fact, what is most refreshing about Grier's latest release is that it's alive with personality, humor, joy and conviction. Grier's voice as a guitarist is marked by a fluidity and texture that most players only dream about. The relaxed, playful feel that Grier and company have achieved on Panorama speaks volumes about what the listening experience is meant to be with respect to any genre. And Grier, as is apparent here, is truly a champion of that cause. !!!!! (MH)

Lords of Acid Our Little Secret (Antler Subway/ Never Records)

It takes some bands several attempts to create a sound that expresses their true persona. Often they go through many transitions to get there, but Lords of Acid isn't one of those bands. Full of dynamic expression and equipped with a sound they could call their own, they exploded on the dance scene in 1988 with their erotic hit single "I Sit on Acid." It tickled our sexual fancy and left crazed club-goers reeling for more. Eventually they released their first full-length album, Lust. It was raw, tasteless but oh-so fun. Three years later, the even more explicit, sexually provocative second album Voodoo-U was released to a very anxious audience, producing such dance hits as "Crab Louse" and "Voodoo-U".

That naughty bunch from Belgium have done it again with their third sexual masterpiece. It is their latest handbook on really raunchy sex appropriately titled Our Little Secret--their most provocative and tasteless work yet, oh, yeah! This album gives listeners what they expect from a typical Lords of Acid album: raunchy lyrics, pulse-driving beats and that keyboard melody unique to this band. The album begins with "Lover," a techno dance tune full of samples that emulate sex. It succeeds in its general mission of turning an entire crowd of over-drugged, exhausted club kids into a high-impact aerobics class complete with sweaty, half-naked bodies. The ultimate sexual quest continues with "Rubber Doll" which was released as an independent single (one of the best songs on the album) and the rap/dance anthem "Pussy" and concludes with the heart-wrenching psycho ballad "You Belong to Me." Our Little Secret is perfect for that latex wearing, nipple pierced cousin your family doesn't talk about. This album is full of pumping techno beats and tasteless art work we've all grown to love from this pulsating powerhouse. !!! (JB)

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