Although it’s only been a little over a year since Grape Room’s last release, Cartoon Land, quite a lot has changed in musician Peter Nicholas’s life. No longer residing in the musical weird-world of Brattleboro, VT, Peter has moved to LA and started Nicey Music, his own record label. Heart of Gum comes to us as the first Grape Room record released on this label, and although the album certainly sounds like the traditional colorful pop that Grape Room is known for, there is a clear difference in presentation here. For all of the bells and whistles, bleeps and bloops of previous Grape Room releases, Heart of Gum sounds far more direct and to-the-point. This album is Grape Room striped down to its core; that core being bouncy rhythms, twisting guitar riffs, and unique lyrics all stitched together to make several catchy tunes. Gone are the cartoony sound clips and instrumental interludes of previous albums- this is Grape Room’s “songs” album.
The opener “Baby Bubblegum” kicks off with little foreplay, throwing you right into a catchy vocal line accompanied by loose and playful guitar. The next track is the insanely addictive “Yankee on the Run,” which may be one of Grape Room’s grooviest tracks to date. Following the direct nature of the album, the lyrical content of later tracks also appears to be Grape Room’s most honest and open lyrics. “Lesser Broom” plays out like a heart-on-sleeve ballad, and “Never Seen Your Face” may be the closest Grape Room has ever gotten to sounding “sad”. Still, even in these moments the music never stops being fun to listen to, and if anything the openness of this recent release only makes the music itself all the more beautiful.
Cereal Pairing: Fruit Loops