May 27, 2005

Grand National - Kicking the National Habit

Grand National, comprised of duo Rupert Lyddon and Lawrence 'La' Rudd, released their first full-length album, Kicking the National Habit, on May 24, 2004, just over one year ago. The album received widespread critical acclaim. However, the release was limited to the UK, and to this day remains available through import only. Fortunately, a recently announced US Tour hints to the future import of the band itself.

This album has been a staple of my music catalogue for almost one year now. Its eclectic blend of genres is seamless, and the work remains true to the British pop tradition established by bands like New Order, The Police, and the Happy Mondays. First single "Talk Amongst Yourselves" is a fantastic blend of synthesized beats and hypnotic bass, whereas "Cherry Tree" belies some unlikely but effective disco elements. The most recent single, "Drink to Moving On," is a mellow lesson in funk rock. "Daylight Goes" is a tribute to La and Rupert's days as members of a Police cover band, and could in fact be the Police resurrected. For audio and video clips, click here.

But Grand National is not a cover band, and they have built a new layer onto the tradition they evoke. The pair explain the British music tradition and their attraction to it: "There's a duality to it. It's half-light. Melancholic. British people do that well. Bands like The Smiths weren't depressing, that's bollocks - they were uplifting. New Order, too - that's celebratory music." Grand National has captured this essence by combining emotional lyrics with light and airy music and soothing vocals.

Click here to buy Kicking the National Habit.

The band's official website has announced tour dates for the US and the UK:

11 June 05 Knitting Factory NYC 10 PM doors/ 10:30 set
13 June 05 Mercury Lounge NYC 7 PM doors/ 8:30 set
15 June 05 Knitting Factory LA 9 PM doors/ 9:30 set
24th June : Glastonbury Festival - The Crown Tent
13th August : Cardiff-Cardiff Summer Festival
9th September : Bestival, Isle of Wight (www.bestival.net)

Find more information on the band at Sunday Best.