Grenadine – Goya

June 30, 2008


Goya (Teenbeat/Shimmy Disc 1992)

I know I keep saying that each album is one of my favorites, but each album posted occupies a special place in my heart. Grenadine is no exception. The cover and artwork of the album is pure schtick. Its imagery predates the lounge revival which brought Martin Denny, Les Baxter and Esquivel back into circulation and the liner notes falsely claim the songs are Sinatra and Cole Porter tunes. Thankfully, the band only gives passing nods to the easy listening of the 50s and 60s and reminds me more of Robinson’s angelic harmonies of the title track of his Imperial fffr album.

Consisting of Jenny Toomey of Tsunami, Mark Robinson of Unrest and Rob Christiansen of Eggs, Grenadine was a supergroup in a shaggy dog sort of way. At least, my lonesome sould thought so. Outside of moments on Unrest’s last albums, Goya contains the best performances any of these talented, but inconsistent artists ever recorded. Tsunami had a few great songs, but relied too heavily of Toomey’s husky, moody voice to carry lackluster tunes. Mark Robinson always had too many ideas and genres to explore. Eggs fell victim to the same miscues as well. Goya’s strength lies in the fact that the source material is already classic and their quirky sensibilities elevate instead of dilute the finished product.

It doesn’t hurt that Toomey and Robinson possessed two of the most more interesting voices in 90s indie rock. Their voices never sounded so good as when covering “I Only Have Eyes For You” as Toomey belts it out in such a manner that it makes you take a second look at the song and realize the beauty of its lyrics.

My love must be a kind of blind love
I cant see anyone but you
And dear, I wonder if you find love
An optical illusion, too?

Are the stars out tonight?
I dont know if its cloudy or bright
cause I only have eyes for you, dear
The moon may be high
But I cant see a thing in the sky
cause I only have eyes for you.

I dont know if were in a garden
Or on a crowded avenue
You are here, so am i
Maybe millions of people go by
But they all disappear from view
And I only have eyes for you

She transforms it into a moody meditation instead of blind-eyed devotion. I forgot how wonderful their cover was until reevaluating it for this review. It jangles like indie-pop, it sounds like indie-pop, but it transcends its littler corner and becomes something much more lasting.

Mark Robinson follows up with a one-two punch as he sings “In a World Without Heroes” A good friend who was interested in astrology found this song to be romantic as the lyrics relate his ability to discern the meaning of her star signs and horoscope to find a common bond between them. He seems worries that he doesn’t truly know her, but shows confidence that love can be derived from this celestial moment. It is sweet and tender in the nerdiest way possible. It still arouses a bit of mist in the ol’ eyeballs.

5 Responses to “Grenadine – Goya”

  1. Bryan Says:

    This was one of my absolute favorites when it came out! I was so crazy about Jenny Toomey(I liken her negative review in AP, of The Tindersticks’ Curtains lp to Maureen Dowd’s Obama pokes–so gender tactical and hurtful!) She sounds almost like Marlene Dietrich on this record: so scratched and warm.

  2. plankface Says:

    i love love love this album — it is one of my all time favorite underappreciated albums. i must have put that version of ‘i only have eyes for you’ on a billion mixtapes. it would be such an easy album to dismiss — ‘oh, hipster covers of loungy songs’ — but it’s so much better than it sounds like it would be!

    i had it recorded on the B side of unrest’s ‘perfect teeth.’ the two went great together.

  3. waynetoytown Says:

    Goya is simply dreamy and you’ve put it all so well in your review, but I’d also like to add a note about the uncredited little Nancy and Lee outtake (lifted from Nancy & Lee Again) at the end of the record. It’s such an odd touch, but sits well with the rest of the record.

  4. lilia Says:

    an enormous space in my heart. both of my goya records skip from moves, overplaying, loving, mismanagement. I may die alone, but i’ll listen to this while fading.

  5. […] *Grenadine “Goya” (Teenbeat) – A really fun record to listen to!! This is Mark Robinson (Unrest), Jenny Toomey (Tsunami), and a guy from Eggs doing these weird lounge jazz songs. It’s still got indie cred with its lo-fi style, but this could be straight out of some 1930′s period piece. […]

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