There’s only so many dreadlocked, hemp wearing, discordant blues and roots musicians I can wrap my ADHD mind around. Throw an unrehearsed, amateurish tune into the stereotype, mix it all around with poor sound quality, and you have Ash Grunwald’s new single, ‘Walking’.
Despite the appeasing opening, which deceptively leads you to believe the song is a quasi-satisfactory rendition of the John Butler Trio’s ‘Zebra’, it fades miserably into a raw, repetitive mantra where the lyrics never really break the surface or provoke a beat. From an artist once referred to as ‘experimental’ with the use of pots, pans and even a dumpster, I expected far more introspectiveness and depth of construction. If Grunwald can create an entire devotional song to a pod of dolphins that saved his life from a shark then he can do more than sing about ‘walking through the night’ over and over again.
It’s a bit harsh, I know. Understandably, everyone is sort of sliding into that mass-produced hippie nostalgia or late 80’s silhouette where we all think we’re indie and cute but are forever culturally warped, and in that respect Grunwald somehow meets you aggressively in the middle. But that’s about all Walking does; meet you aggressively, growling down your throat and scaring your once sheltered innards into futile submission all because you were expecting the soul soothing whispers of clichéd blues and roots. But no, he is no Xavier Rudd; it is all just semi-incoherent screaming. Something more suited to a time when you are half drunk and suffering from temporary hearing loss.
Which brings me to the thought that perhaps Ash Grunwald should classify himself under Garage Band Rock. Then again, the last time I checked, garage band rock was in severe decline.