Paul Roland with Mick Crossley - Grimmer Than Grimm

Paul Roland with Mick Crossley Grimmer Than Grimm cover
Paul Roland with Mick Crossley
Grimmer Than Grimm
Dark Companion Records
Paul Roland is an interesting case. An eclectic songwriter and performer, that transcends categorization as his music dwells between psychedelia, baroque, pop, folk, gothic, rock… you name it. Far too often inspired by classic literature, horror stories, the occult and paranormal, he does so, not in light “theatrical” way, despite his music having great atmosphere and theatricality. A person who’s explored and written about the paranormal and an author himself, he has a certain authority on the matter.
Within his extensive discography that goes back nearly four decades, it’s not uncommon to see him re-appraise and revisit some of his older albums, to give songs a different slant and here he does so for the entire 2011 “Grimm” album, which has since been deleted. In what was truly a solo album, where Roland performed “everything”, he is now joined by Mick Crossley (Flyte Reaction), whose contributions liven up the songs, giving them a richer, warmer sound and ambiance. Roland’s pretty unique, subdued – yet quite stirring vocals, bode well with the songs that might feel simple and delicate for the most part, but become easily endearing in their poignancy. While one could completely re-imagine some of these songs in a medieval fayre, sort of way, their stripped down doric nature, adds rather than subtracts to their charm.
Crossley’s contributions are subtle, but definitely audible, if you listen to the “old” album and this “revisited” version of it, no matter how accustomed you might be to the “original” forms in which you’ve experienced them, you’re unlikely to mind these new versions that seem to maximize the songs potential. There’s a dreamy “depth” to the songs now – something that is quite apparent in songs like the haunting “What Will Become of Me?”, originally it’s keyboard dominated, but here, it’s given airy guitars and echoey lingering atmospheres than pan all around you, taking a bit away from its immediacy but on the other hand adding tenfold in terms of atmosphere.
“Grimm” was one of the most personal and “core” albums of Paul Roland, very much a statement of what he’s all about and “Grimmer Than Grimm” just seems like a graduation of it, to what it should have always been. A decent analogy I guess would have been “repainting” and detailing your old and otherwise “mint” car… it will look “new” again… I understand that this analogy might not feel entirely fitting to the gothic/medieval vibe of PR’s music, but you get the picture. If you don’t like the car, think a carriage instead – just make sure that you get on – so you don’t miss. The obscure master of dark psych folk rock beckons you and it would be wise to heed his call.