Grice: Propeller

UK art-rocker lifts off with all-star solo debut.

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Let’s face it, the UK has long been at the forefront of art rock, and London-born multi- instrumentalist Grice (his mum calls him Jim Peters) offers more proof here on his debut solo album. Grice carved his name in the South West as the frontman of art rockers The Martyrs and Swanston, and his solo offering isn’t just a showcase of his own talents.

There’s mastering from Simon Heyworth (King Crimson/Mike Oldfield), pipes from craftsman Alan Burton, violin from No-Man’s Steve Bingham and there’s even saxophone from Raphael Ravenscroft, he of Baker Street fame.

Propeller is a revelation, its glorious textures and instrumentation drawing the listener in as it flows seamlessly from one song to the next, never losing its intensity. There’s a touch of Peter Gabriel here, a little Beatles there and plenty of experimentation along the way.

Opener Patiently gradually unveils the rest of the album. With its varying use of wind instruments, the four-part title track is particularly breathtaking, while the mesmerising The Cage slows things down as the penultimate ditty.

With Propeller Grice has created a genuinely extraordinary slice of experimental rock.