Release Date: Feb 17, 2015
Record label: Western Vinyl Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Experimental Rock, Shoegaze
By the time of their fourth album, Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair, Brooklyn guitar pop act Grooms had silently become a force within a scene of noisy, boundary-pushing indie bands, building an increasingly interesting body of work on a seasoned history. Starting out as a recording outlet for bandleader Travis Johnson under the name Muggabears in the early 2000s, the band grew into a functional performing trio, embracing the mixture of terse, dreamy guitar tones and slack-jawed melodies of early indie staples like Pavement and Sonic Youth. After changing their name to Grooms, they released three albums that saw them wind away from the relaxed hooks of 2009's Rejoicer toward hazy nostalgia on 2011's Prom and back into more driving rock zones on 2013's Infinity Caller.
Brooklyn indie-rockers Grooms announced the release of their previous album, 2013’s Infinity Caller, by admitting they nearly broke up twice while making it. Things did not get any easier for them in the interim. After skipping out on Infinity Caller’s tours due to day-job commitments, bassist Emily Ambruso—whose history with band co-founder Travis Johnson dates back to their pre-Grooms outfit, the Muggabears—decided she could no longer afford to be in the band.
Grooms is one in a number of bands nurtured through the recently shuttered Brooklyn DIY venue, Death by Audio. It was a space most closely associated with A Place to Bury Strangers, a band known for harsh, overwhelming sounds and live sets guaranteed to overwork the senses. Grooms frontman Travis Johnson even made effects pedals alongside A Place to Bury Strangers’ frontman, Oliver Ackermann, for the pedal company the venue grew from.
From cutting their teeth at the now-defunct Brooklyn studio and practice space Death by Audio, Grooms have learned to craft tasteful and stylish indie rock. Blending sweet melodies with wailing walls of effects (likely from Death by Audio's line of guitar pedals), Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair comes off as a wet dream for '90s indie aficionados. Pulling together 11 tracks, Grooms cover much sonic ground on their fourth full-length, mixing new wave synthesizers, drum beats and driving bass lines, allowing each song to sound both unique and a part of the whole.
Grooms — Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair (Western Vinyl)Is it exaggeration to call Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair, thefourth album from Brooklyn’s Grooms, a haunted album? Maybe not. Llistening to “Something Wild,” the insidiously catchy song that sits in the middle of the album, I heard a strange sound that seemed to come from above one speaker. After some rewinding, and some conspicuous muting, I settled on a description: a muted exhalation, as though some invisible presence stood in an impossible place.