Sound Advice: The Griswolds with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, New Politics and LOLO

Friday • Bogart’s

click to enlarge The Griswolds
The Griswolds

There is nothing in the world quite so bracing and magnificent as Pop/Rock from the Land Down Under. Australia has produced some of the finest examples of the form over the past four decades, obviously refracted through their unique cracked-prism perspective. For proof, just witness the eccentric brilliance of Daddy Cool, Men at Work, INXS and the Triffids, among many others (and if you count New Zealand, Split Enz and its mainstream successor, Crowded House).

This long lineage of Rock defined by a deep and wide streak of wild individuality coated with a veneer of respectability is evidenced in the present tense by the Synth Pop gyrations of The Griswolds. The Sydney quintet could easily pass for the Antipodean vision of Cincinnati-spawned Pop/Rock stars Walk the Moon — the two groups toured together this year and The Griswolds released an acoustic cover of Walk the Moon’s “Anna Sun”, with its infectious Dance Pop injected with a viral dose of megawatt-Rock energy and an off-kilter sense of playfulness, all polished to a high sheen while maintaining a kernel of independent grit. Even when The Griswolds shift into a slightly more serious mode, there is an unmistakable bounce to the proceedings; the effervescent sounds behind “Beware the Dog” are countered by lyrics about loss due to drug abuse.

The seeds of The Griswolds were planted in early 2012, when guitarist/vocalist Christopher Whitehall challenged friend Daniel Duque-Perez to write a riff spontaneously at a house party. When he did, the pair realized they were onto something special. Adding bassist Tim John and drummer Lachlan West (Kevin Ray would come later) and naming themselves, like our own cover-band faves The Rusty Griswolds, in honor of National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Griswolds posted the song “Mississippi” (featuring Duque-Perez’s riff challenge result) online. The band was noticed on a global scale when blogs disseminated the track. Within months, the band was scoring high-profile gigs and released its acclaimed debut EP, Heart of a Lion.

After becoming huge in Australia, the band signed with Wind-up Records, which released The Griswolds’ first full-length, Be Impressive, last year. After building its worldwide fanbase by touring with acts like Walk the Moon and Passion Pit this year, The Griswolds headed back to Australia to begin work on their second album. Likely that means the band has at least a few new songs to share with fans on its current tour.

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