6.06 Up and Comers - CD Review

It’s a Hard Rock Life for Grand Evolution
By Bobby Hankinson

Grand Evolution, formerly based in Worcester but now rocking out in Uxbridge, wants people to know how hard it is to be in a band. Working day jobs and struggling to scrounge up enough cash to record isn’t exactly the glamorous rock star life of TV and movies. The lyrics of the band’s song “Answer” from their album “If You Only Knew” wonder aloud, “Am I always gonna be sitting on the floor/ alone in my room playing for myself/ Does anyone care or will it always be the same/ Will there just be a few folks here and there?”

The only thing more difficult than trying to make it in a rock ‘n’ roll band is trying to make it in a female-fronted act. It’s not easy to be a girl in a boys’ world, what with constant comparisons to other female-fronted bands and reviews that focus more on lead singer Sarah Kollett’s good looks than on the band’s music. But listeners beware: This kitten’s got claws.

High-octane guitar rock is balanced out with Kollett’s sweet voice. While unassuming at first, there’s a ballsiness that lies beneath her cooing. It’s got enough brash energy to hold its own in any dive bar or mosh pit on either side of Rt. 9. While there’s not much in terms of dynamic, there’s enough consistent power throughout to keep the album strong. On opener “Ramble,” angular guitar work comes cascading down around Kollett’s sing-songy melody. Her voice fills out the chorus and asks ~ no, demands ~ “Don’t leave me.” The second-track, “Star” (for which the band filmed a video that’s included on the disc) is an arena-rocking summer jam in the making. And the album’s title track is equally catchy and bombastic enough to keep heads banging well into September. Despite the confessional lyrics throughout, it’s not until the stripped-down ballad “See You Again” that Kollett really seems to let her guard down and show her softer side. The vulnerability comes through with sincerity and is coupled with a great solo from guitarist Mike Gendron.

But for the most part, this disc is just begging to be blared loud-n-proud with the top down. Somewhere amongst the worlds of pop, punk, and rock, Grand Evolution has etched out a niche among the rest. While being female-fronted may be a hindrance to some, Kollett’s tender voice and rock ‘n’ roll attitude could be Grand Evolution’s greatest strength.