“Bobby M and the Paisley Parade” by Project Grand Slam
Psychedelic rock is more than a genre of music – it’s an identity, and not one that has to be portrayed with the stereotypical cartoonish demeanor of its greatest legends. While I don’t know that it’s fair to say that Project Grand Slam are chasing their own version of this identity solely to be rebels in their new album Bobby M and the Paisley Parade, there’s something both one-of-a-kind and definitively classic about what’s driving their sound in this latest release.
In songs like “It’s So Important” and “Feeling So Good,” Robert Miller and his carefully chosen cast of supporting players begin to reveal parts of themselves through both the music and the lyrics that simply weren’t accessible to us previously, all the while making a point of leaving the audience unsheltered from the sonic carnage entirely. “What Can I Say” and “Annie and Leni” do indeed wade into alternative waters akin to something from the old guard, but even with this being the case, the energy behind the music feels very modern and, dare I say, a bit angst-ridden in this situation.
“I Just Want to Love You” and “My Love” simply wouldn’t be the same without the intensity of their heavier melodic parts, and had the centerpiece been replaced with anything else – from a piano to a synthetic melody – I just don’t know whether or not these two songs would hold the same meaning. There’s a pop sensibility to the lead in “Chasing the Light” and “Waiting for Me” that I want Project Grand Slam to try and expand upon more than they have, and in some ways, I think they show off a bit more courage in their creativity just by including these two songs here. The former could easily be the record’s star single, while the latter could join it in such a capacity, and they certainly don’t hide the general priorities Miller has right now. They want to stay raw through the rhythm, even if it means sacrificing some element of commercial acceptability.
True to the pedigree of its predecessors but still demonstrating that this band’s leader can step outside of his comfort zone whenever he wants to, Bobby M and the Paisley Parade is as intriguing and evocative as its psychedelic-tinged music and title would imply. This incarnation of Project Grand Slam allows them plenty of room to continue growing as a unit, but tracks like “What Can I Say,” “This Time,” “I Just Want to Love You” and “It’s So Important” show them owning a signature persona no one else can claim as their own.
It’s hard trying to distinguish yourself and your sound from that of the many other talented groups in the American and international undergrounds these days, but after a lot of years hard at work both inside of the recording studio and up on the stage, Project Grand Slam has something that no one else can take from them, and it’s available in ten distinct movements via Bobby M and the Paisley Parade this November.