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Jun 16, -Jun 22 2005 • Volume 30, Number 39| WORCESTER COUNTY'S INDEPENDENT VOICE

Pop goes the world

Grandevolution’s “Covered in Roses”

By Brian Goslow

If you haven’t already heard the melodic and sometimes hard-bouncing pop sound of Grandevolution, you’d think a group with musical tastes as diverse as Butch Walker, The Beastie Boys, Black Sabbath, and Radiohead could never work.

The pleasant surprise is the three-piece group who hails from Uxbridge and Lincoln, R.I., are making some of the most enjoyable pop music to come from these parts in years. “We try to capitalize on the differences in influences,” says guitarist Mike Gendron, who calls the group’s sound “a mix of modern alt. rock, punk, and folk-rock. All influences do lead back to the same roots in rock ’n’ roll history. It’s all about getting closer to the source.”

Vocalist Sarah Kollett, who currently plays bass (after starting out as the group’s second guitarist) and drummer Scott Kenyon complete the band’s lineup, which formed at the end of 2001. A self-titled three-song EP released last year features the spacey “Covered in Roses,” a song that earned them a “Best Song” nomination in the 2005 Providence Phoenix Music Poll; it’s also the group’s first video. It was filmed at the Mendon Drive-In, as well as along the streets and backroads of Millbury and Uxbridge. Drummer Kenyon produced it. “He had the camera sitting on his dashboard while driving around,” Kollett says. “He was getting some footage so he could learn how to make a video.” You can view it on the group’s Web site.

Grandevolution captures the high-energy fun of Letters to Cleo and The Cardigans at their brashest on “Silhouette,” while “Second Wind High” holds traces of the best pop music from the ’60s to the present. On the latter, Kollett sings, “You’ll pass me by until perfection from a first glance comes to you” — tackling the all-too-frequent problem of people who throw their hopes, dreams, and fantasies onto others based on their looks and nothing else.

“When people are looking for a mate, they are usually attracted to physical characteristics,” Kollett says. “When I wrote that, I was thinking that I wasn’t good enough — pretty enough — for the person I was interested in. Maybe that person would never find someone perfect on the outside. But maybe if he looked twice, I would’ve been perfect for that person.” None of her songs are about actual relationships. “These songs are about wanting something unattainable,” Kollett says.

Her songs don’t chase you away by drowning you in her personal sorrows. Whether it’s the angelic sound of her voice on “Covered With Roses” or the upbeat playing of the group’s instruments, they sound like good-time songs — until you read their lyrics. “All the songs on the three-song CD are sad,” she says. “I had this friend who inspired me to continue with my music at a point when I was ready to give up. I was backstage at a Fuel concert one night and he said he’d be right back but he never came back. A short while later I found out he had died.”

Along with regular local visits to The Lucky Dog and Ralph’s, Grandevolution has played The Continental in New York City. On stage, they lose some of their pop edge. “We are a little more raw live,” Kollett says. “I would say more rock.”

Kollett attends The New England Institute of Art and Communication, where she studies music business management. She sent out “hundreds of packages” of the latest CD to college and commercial radio stations. That led to the band being invited to perform on WAAF’s “Bay State Rock” and WHJY’s “SoundCheck.” They’re also heard on Web radio broadcasters “Spider Bite Radio” from New Hampshire and “The 40,000 Volts Show” out of England.

Along with this Friday’s show at The Compound in Fitchburg, Grandevolution’s summer schedule includes working on their first full-length CD and playing shows in Attleboro, Taunton and Warwick, R.I. “We just keep trucking along — there’s never a dull moment,” Gendron says. “There’s a good amount of motivation and everyone has a strong passion for music.


Brian Goslow may be reached at bgoslow@worcestermag.com.

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