A talent realised with a set of songs that demand repeated playing.
The distant pedal steel that opens ‘Twenty-Third Street’, the first song on ‘All That’s Been Lost’ drops you instantly in the prairie, but it’s the more urban landscape of Glasgow that forms the backdrop to songs like ‘Memories’ and ‘Charlie’s Old Mustang/Graveyard’. Grozier takes the building blocks of Americana; pedal steel, harmonica, and a mournful vocal, and creates something unique with them. He sings about America, but you can visualise a grey misty Scotland just as easily in the stories.
He leaves the best songs until last. On ‘Sam, I Know You Tried’ the menacing guitar and organ could have come straight out of San Francisco in 1967. ‘I Miss My Friend (for Neal Casal)’ is a tribute to one of Grozier’s heroes and closes the album on a reflective note. This is one of those records that you can easily play through, and go straight back to the start. Repeated listens bring out the musical subtleties. Organ on ‘Twenty-Third Street’, pedal steel on ‘When The Darkness Comes’. Producer Roscoe Wilson’s electric guitar work shines throughout the album. Sadly he’s also probably also responsible for the one mark against the album, the programmed drums which are often buried in the mix. Stronger drums would have lifted a couple of the songs from very good to really great, notably ‘Sam, I Know You Tried’ and ‘Charlie’s Old Mustang/Graveyard’.
My colleague Jonathan Aird told the story of the recording of this album when he previewed the video for ‘Memories’ back in March and, to be honest, as every album is a lockdown album this year, being able to detect few signs of the last year in this music is refreshing.
In an interview, with the Alloa Advertiser a few years ago Grozier said “I love bands like War on Drugs or Death Cab for Cutie, these kinds of emo-ish, indie-rock bands, and I love a lot of jazz music and soul music.” There is certainly a feel of the first two bands to some of the songs here. The lyrics feel more Dylan, another influence he acknowledges, than anything else though. The voice has touches of Neil Young certainly, but Grozier arrives at his first full-length album as his own artist. The press for ‘All That’s Been Lost’ quotes AUK “there is real talent here that will hopefully find its niche and fully bloom.” Here’s where it happens.