Grouper
Grid of Points


4.0
excellent

Review

by house cat STAFF
April 27th, 2018 | 86 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: dropping the dead deer at the top of the hill and descending

For most, Liz Harris’ hill is lush, isolated, and one we listeners are willing to die on. She’s never changed the basic formula -- one she’s maintained since her eponymous 2005 EP -- out of, I think, necessity; one that illuminates Grouper’s ambient-folk journal as the thing that speaks to the spaces in between. Harris, through dabbling in the ethereal, positioning the dream world so close to the mundane, has landed herself in a rather auspicious spot: her aesthetic, as lovely and incorporeal as it is, is coveted no matter the iteration. Switch out your haunting guitars for your gorgeous lilting piano phrases all you want; as long as you still evoke solitude, the tempering of the outside world, spectral beauty -- we’ll remain on good terms. So what do we as fans expect, going into Grid of Points"

I think I expected more.

I don’t mean to undersell this thing: It’s more Grouper, more seraphic whispering choirs, more formless and nebulous piano songs about “emotional garbage” that send shivers up your spine. It’s also only twenty-one minutes long and scant on melody, beckoning patience that I may not have afforded if I hadn’t felt the weight of Grouper’s reputation as I listened.

But, when all’s both said and done, one’s patience is rewarded. Grid of Points is a shadow stitched to Liz Harris’ body of work, not least because it feels, at first, like a reduction of her former self. It’s pithy and monochromatic, forcing the listener to pay the closest attention to every movement. Every harmony is a different shade of grey, and this record does yield some of her loveliest harmonies. Parking Lot ripples with tape echo, and resultingly, the vocal layers bleed indistinguishably into each other, like Harris alone forms the world’s most resigned, listless chorus. Much the same, her sparse piano work mirrors her vocal melodies -- restrained, but unafraid of the occasional flourish when the song’s parameters permit such wiggle room.

(Birthday Song for example, reaches up into -- for my memory -- unprecedentedly high-pitched territories, making for a rare lucid passage which plays the foil to Harris’ ever-nebulous, hazy vocals.)

To address the elephant in the room: this is not, contrary to initial inspection, Ruins-lite. Where Ruins documented Liz living in the ruins (go figure) of past lives, past relationships, Grid of Points has her gently exploring new locations – ones that aren’t marked by a state of disrepair. It is, I think, the reason this album is so ephemeral; despite its slow burn, one gets the sense that the record is moving from place to place, filling empty spaces with its spirit before departing. Breathing is the most conclusive song in Grouper’s discography, consumed halfway through by the sound of a train passing as if to bookmark the end of a particular chapter set in the debris of your old home. Given the circumstances, it’s perfect – crystallising Grid of Points as an important stopover, one that eternalises and suspends a moment in time. Quite like a tattoo, in fact (RIP Aljezur: 2014 – 2018).

So what now do I expect of Grouper" I expect my expectations to be subverted, and my isolation to feel lived in.



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user ratings (109)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Winesburgohio CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
softly as you leave her...


Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2018


2199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

day has been defined by the grid

hal1ax
April 27th 2018


11128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i almost feel like i'm sort of left out of the circle on this one. like there's some snapshot of her life that liz is trying to cryptically convey here and i'm just not getting it this time around. still sounds good tho lol.

hal1ax
April 27th 2018


11128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also nice review as per typical

YakNips
April 27th 2018


19161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review



good album



stay tuned for more hot takes

dbizzles
April 27th 2018


11773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wonderful review. Hoping to listen to this over the weekend. Have only heard Dead Deer, but it was a nice (maybe the wrong word) listen.

Digging: Burial Invocation - Rituals of the Grotesque

JustJoe.
April 27th 2018


3927 Comments


Elizabeth Harris is the best.

Digging: YOU23 - ???????? ??? ? ???

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2018


2350 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lovely review u lil cutie u

Lucid
April 27th 2018


9813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"i almost feel like i'm sort of left out of the circle on this one"

reading the p4k interview did wonders to helping me understand this record

rabidfish
April 27th 2018


3650 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

she keeps making great stuff but i dunno... This kinda felt too short and unambitious to me, more like an EP. Not that it needs to be ambitious, just felt like this went by without much to say about it other than 'that was nice'.

Digging: The Do - A Mouthful

brainmelter
April 27th 2018


5593 Comments


sweet, need to get on this

Digging: Imperial Triumphant - Vile Luxury

Spacesh1p
April 27th 2018


7637 Comments


who is landdiving

TheBarber
April 27th 2018


3697 Comments


ah yiss

Dewinged
April 27th 2018


10528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shite, can't jam this today but great read as always Jack, and nice to see the generally posi reactions.

Digging: Black Fast - Spectre of Ruin

guitarded_chuck
April 27th 2018


15349 Comments


grouper i hardly know her

Darius
April 27th 2018


16183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lmao chuck

Digging: Opeth - Damnation

calmrose
April 27th 2018


3211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lovely album

Digging: Birds in Row - We Already Lost The World

theBoneyKing
April 27th 2018


14921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Checked out Dragging a Dead Dear and Ruins recently and they’re both lovely, looking forward to jamming this.

Digging: Deafheaven - Sunbather

Tyler.
April 27th 2018


14903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i dont have time to listen to all of this music can we slow down please

Tyler.
April 27th 2018


14903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is only 21 minutes what the fuck

Lucid
April 27th 2018


9813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this isn't an album you take in while browsing online and messing around. listen to it with no distractions, makes a big difference.



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