There are some bands that work best in the studio, and there bands that work best in a live setting. Bamboo Grove falls squarely into the latter category. They’ve got that funky vibe that you probably only get from playing live a lot. They’ve got all of the right tunes to get people moving, to get the club hopping. I think the best way to experience this band would be to hop on down to the local establishment, get a nice cold Corona in your hand, and jam out to the tunes. Well not for me. I hate Corona.
Before I explain my final attitude towards this CD, I do need to give them plenty of credit where credit’s due. Bamboo Grove’s music falls squarely into that style of melodic, groove-oriented pop that’s normally reserved for the likes of the Dave Matthews Band. Fortunately, they don’t have that annoying voice and unintelligible lyrics. And they even throw in a few eclectic moments that I didn’t expect.
The song that really leaps out at me is “Wishbone,” which sounds like Jamiroquai if Jay Kay would let go of his Stevie Wonder fetish. “Lost In The Shade” throws in some African tribal percussion and “Wisest Of The Animals” closes with a nice psych-rock guitar solo and atmospheric bridge. And you can sum up “Frank” with two words: Bob Marley. Listen to it and see if you don’t find yourself expecting a little “No Woman, No Cry” to follow soon afterwards.
But aside from those moments when Bamboo Grove’s music gets funky, and though I’ve always appreciated a healthy Rhodes piano (which Bamboo Grove uses quite liberally), I always seem to lose interest after the sixth or seventh track. Nothing holds my interest past that point, as all of the songs seem to swirl together into a psych-tinted jam session that feels more suitable for Rush and Phish fans. In other words, if this CD winds up in my player in the future, I’ll be making great use of the ol’ “Program” feature.
But I’m fairly certain that were they to hit some of the local drinking establishments here in Lincoln, Bamboo Grove would do quite well for themselves. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that a lot of the Greek kids would snag copies of Six Wall Solution so they’d have something to take with them on Spring Break. It does have that loose party feel that seems more conducive to drinking and grooving out than anything else. I, on the other hand, have never really cared for “bar rock” (for lack of a better term), and Bamboo Grove didn’t really do anything to change my mind. And like I said, I hate Corona.