There is a degree of grittiness in Particle Wave’s third album, Grand Unifier. Combine all of that with ghostly melodies, surf sounds, psychedelic music, and new school garage rock and you have one heck of an extraordinary album. Eleven original tracks with their own sound yet still come together sonically to deliver an album that stands out among the current crop of indie/alternative releases. Grand Unifier opens with its haunting title track, a spooky number which would compliment any number of David Lynch films. That leads into the fast, heavy sleek guitar track “Mr. Lonely,” easily one of the best tracks on Grand Unifier. The heart-felt ballad “I Know” has a bit of a rockabilly feel but its lyrics will certainly tell you all you need to know where lead singer Greg Maechling is coming from. “But when your light is gone, there’s nothing more for me to see. And when your love is gone, there’s nothing more here for me.” “More I Can Do,” reminds us, courtesy of these California rockers, that surf music is alive and well with this fun 60’s beach vibe tune that’s meant to be played in a ragtop on your way to the beach, surfboard sticking out. “Know It’s Right” is the number you play after you’ve settled in for a day of doing nothing but sitting under the sun, checking out some beach honeys. “I Don’t Notice” is what you get when you combine Wilco’s retrospective lyrics with Interpol’s polished garage rock sound and the result is quite good. “Come Home” can easily find itself a place on regular rotation on college or alternative radio, its trademark being its spacey guitar licks. The final track “Wish Them Peace,” is perfectly placed at the closing of Grand Unifier; a sweet, heartfelt ending to old friendships as one moves onto the next stage of their growing up and thanking them for helping them along the way. Particle Wave can rightfully claim to be a group that’s changing the sound and direction of current alt rock into a positive path with Grand Unifier, an album not afraid to recognize its influence, but also adding plenty of original music and solid lyrics into the mix. It’s an album that is cool, free of filler material, just one enjoyable track after another. It is one of the gems of 2014.
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