Granfaloon Bus - Lucky Curtains
Sieben Alben in 13 Jahren hat die Band mit Hauptsitz San Francisco schon auf dem Buckel, von der ursprünglichen Gruppierung ist nur noch Sänger und Songschreiber Felix Costanza übrig geblieben. Komplettiert wird die Bus-Besatzung auch bei ihrem zweiten Glitterhouse-Album durch Ajax Greens fragmentarische Gitarrenakkorde, Jeff Palmers eigenwilliges Schlagzeug und Jeff „Johnny Safety“ Stevenson am Bass. Und die vier machen diesmal mit einem großen Schritt zurück zugleich einen gewaltigen nach vorn. Fast schon altmodische Countryperlen sinds geworden, neu doch gleichsam vertraut. Mal sanft schaukelnd, mal locker galoppierend, dann wieder in Souled American naher Langsamkeit verhaftet. Und zum ersten Mal völlig homemade: „Whereas all of our other albums were recorded in recording studios, `Lucky Curtains´ was made in Jeff Palmerþs house. You can hear his dog Sally walking on the wooden floors. You can smell the oil paint that we were breathing as his house got painted while we played. You can see the candles we had to light when the painters knocked out the power and we had to run an extension cord across the street to keep the session going. We recorded the hand-claps in the dark - without the ability to look at each otherþs hands.” (Felix Costanza)
Geblieben ist zum Glück der ganz gewisse Granfaloon Touch. Der brüchige Folk-Punk der frühen Tage ist gewichen, daraus hat sich eine gewisse Kauzigkeit entwickelt, in der sich Songwriter Felix Costanza zu einem Meister seines Fachs entwickelt hat. Er beweist einmal mehr seine Fähigkeiten als Schreiber nachdenklicher Lebensbetrachtungen, vorgetragen in verschlüsselten Botschaften (die Texte sind abgedruckt), zum Leben erweckt von dieser grandios nölig-nonchalanten Stimme.
Das ist in einer ganz eigenen Liga, verpackt in den gewohnt lässig-schleppendem Minimal-Sound, der aber immer wieder Überraschungen bietet. Wie sie alleine den ersten Teil von „Scum Of The Earth“ zelebrieren, mutig beginnen, dann beinahe aneinander vorbei spielen um sich kurz vor dem Auseinanderfallen zu einem schwer abgefahrenen Finale wieder zu finden, das ist schon 2 Ohren wert. Steel, Orgel, Violine, alles das findet sich in kleinen Dosen hier, wohl gesetzte Töne, scheinbar zufällig, aber doch ganz wahrscheinlich eher nicht.
"Wenn die Weite unendlich wird, kann man Johnny Cash ins Autoradio schieben, wenn der Schmerz unerträglich scheint, sollte man Hank Williams hören - doch wenn der Traum zerbricht, haben Granfaloon Bus dafür schon den Soundtrack geschrieben!" (Die Tageszeitung)
Granfaloon Bus is old. After 13 years, 7 albums, numerous singles, compilations, empty bottles and broken hearts, the Granfaloon kids have been rolling for so long that theyþre not even kids anymore (theyþre having kids of their own). They are like the Rolling Stones in þ75, Black Sabbath in þ81, or U2 in þ90, except that Granfaloon Bus sounds nothing like those bands (and has suffered nothing like their success). Yeah, theyþre old. Their story is long, wordy, and just itching to be retold.
Felix Costanza conceived the Granfaloon seed in San Diego, California, circa 1989. Sown with the sodden fertilizer of California pschedelics like Camper Van B and Arizonan Kirkwoods like the Meat Puppets, early Bus rides were swirling and loud, leaving many passengers queasy, disturbe
|then, relieved. This incarnation lasted for two long-playing recordings, ûûItþs All Just Parlor Tricksûû, released on hand made cassettes (remember those? you must be old too), and ûûA Love Restrainedûû, a CD, also hand-colored. <
|>Under the din and squall of a hundred instruments Costanza established himself as a lyricist of considerable might: the future Dylans, Cohens, and Beefhearts of southern California put down their pens to listen to the impossible images that Costanza drew from stories of his life. After these first two amazing releases the age of grunge was upon them and despite opening shows for the burgeoning Nirvana in San Diego, the Bus left for San Francisco to seek their fortunes in the fabled city. <
|>Losing members to law enforcement and other sundry projects, Felix kept writing songs. His new band was formed from lucky fans who had been under his spell for some time, fans (and friends) who never missed a show and jumped at the chance to climb aboard the þBus. The next record, ûûRocket Noonûû, was the first to be recorded by Greg Freeman (who is now considered the ûûfifth memberûû of Granfaloon Bus and has recorded every album since). ûûRocket Noonûû also featured songs from Steve Daubenspeck who had hitherto played bass. The song mixture was intoxicating, and won them their first European distribution and tour. Costanzaþs songs progressed to a darker more oblique lyrical style, leaving the audience to decypher his delicate phrases. The influence of the Flaming Lips, and then Souled American, shaped the sonic inspiration for the new incarnation, which also featured the fracturous guitar playing of Ajax Green, the drumming and percussion of Jeff Palmer (at the time on-loan from playing bass for The Mommyheads), and host of other local luminaries (and drinking buddies). <
|>Soon after the success of ûûRocket Noonûû the band released ûûSchlafwagon (Sleeping Car)ûû, the record that sealed their reputation as critical darlings, prompting the New Music Express to proclaim:<
|>ûûYet its greatest achievement is that in rummaging through the rusty detritus of the (specifically American) psyche, evoking the loneliness of huge windswept plains while describing party snacks in Tupperware and þFor Saleþ signs on hearses, it manages to find a poignant kind of grace.ûû<
|>ûûGood Funeral Weatherûû and ûûExploded Viewûû survived the departure of Daubenspeck and became fully realized albums, with shape, texture, and emotional resonance that built on the already ensconced legacy of this great band. Jeff Stevenson played bass on these albums, inbetween recording his own ûûcountry classicsûû under the name of ûûJohnny Safetyûû. <
|>Yes, Granfaloon Bus is very old. And with this age come knowlege. Costanza has sharpened his poison pen and the unflaggingly creative producers Greg Freeman and Jeff Palmer (remember him? heþs also the drummer) have put together Granfaloon Busþ most startling record to date: ûûLucky Curtainsûû. Stripped, folded, and curled, ûûLucky Curtainsûû cuts deeper into the soul of Felix Constanza and his band. <
|>With no signs of fatigue, Granfaloon Bus continues to deliver odes of marginalia, in weird packages, odd sounds, and dripping, bloody hearts.