When the Mike Gunn split,
their bassist Scott Grimm started a new band called Dunlavy.
Dunlavy is a power-trio (Grimm on guitar,
Elizabeth Swift on bass and Paul Gregory on
drums) that has unleashed a virulent brand of instrumental space-rock on
I Ruined America (September Gurls, 1995),
The Spinning Dog (September Gurls, 1996),
Thaumatricon 2 (Fleece, 1998).
While these albums were played by an imaginary trio (Grimm himself on all
instruments), the fourth one,
John Merkle is a Miracle (Fleece, 1999), is truly a group work.
The sound is changing as well, thanks to melodic and romantic touches of
acoustic guitar and organ. Luminescent is even a regular song.
Featuring five lengthy tracks, the album runs the gamut from the eerie and
dilated Light to the space-rock droning of Heavy, from
the acoustic Chili Dog to the shoegazing Herkimer.
Dunlavy is actually a duo on
The Alison Effect (Camera Obscura, 2001), as Scott Grimm is joined by
old buddy John Cramer. The collaboration yields a more professional work,
neatly arranged and even sung (not just moaned), from the drunk ballad a` la
Holy Modal Rounders Rob Walks In to the epic trip of
Better Than Sleep. Dunlavy's new reference point is the
18-minute Woe Be To Croton, in which the Hawkwind fixation turns into
a Popol Vuh fascination.
King Of All He Surveys (Fleece, 2001) is, instead, too fragmented.
is sort of psychedelic easy listening, a laid-back shuffle surfed by
waves of lysergic organ and fluttering synth lines.
Mercury is like a slow-motion version of 13th Floor Elevator,
with the distorted vocals, the martial drums and a heavily fuzzed-out guitar,
performing Pink Floyd's Let There Be More Light.
Very Little is a hard-rocking rave-up that would have been
dynamite on Byrds' Fifth Dimension.
Scott Dewey is a longer jam that seems to fuse the three previous kinds
The mellow, trancey Everything is a decomposing fairy tale until
a stoner riff sends it into a stellar orbit, the panzer guitar riff dueling
with an epic synth line.
The ethereal whisper of Captain Space recurs three times, ever
less earthly, as if to carry the listener out of this planet.
Too bad so many of these pieces are short and incomplete, as if Grimm
got bored of playing them.
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