Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Grifters - Ain't My Lookout


What a surprise - I actually liked it!

I've never even heard of this band, and they've now disappeared into that special ether that's reserved for "weren't you in the...?" indie bands.  But the tunes are excellent, the mix was unobjectionable, and the instrumental track in particular blew me away.  Positively orchestral in parts.

Um, the singing - not so much.  Not that it's really bad - but there are moments when it's of that deliberately-untuneful-indie-band style that initially led me to suppose I'd hate this CD.  But the tunes are so delightful, it's possible to allow those flat notes to just drift past, like an oil splodge on the surface of an otherwise picture-perfect lake.



The Grifters' Aint My Lookout was another one of those discs I was asked to review and ended up keeping because I loved it.  It was 1996 - I'd quit my job in the public service, took a hefty redundancy package and moved from Canberra to inner-city Sydney hoping to become a rock star.  

I immediately started working for a street press publication as a feature writer and live/ CD reviewer.  I was seeing lots of fresh, interesting and exciting acts and copping a lot of great free music.  I was into all things indie and noisy and lofi.  To give you an idea, I was listening to (among other things) a lot of Pavement, Sebadoh, Superchunk, Archers Of Loaf and other bands I've long forgotten.  

Listening to this disc after quite a number of years, I still feel a tingle of delight hearing songs like Boho/AltParting Shot, Covered In Flies and Day Shift.  There's also something distinctly Bowie-esque about them (just listen to Last Man Alive or Give Yourself To Me).  There's absolutely no doubting his influence.  Of course, The Grifters are now long gone, more's the shame.  I'm sure there are a bunch of indie kids out there now who would take to them like a duck to water.

I'm almost sure Mine probably won't like this but then I thought she'd vomit when she heard Pavement so I'm fully prepared to be wrong on this one.  (Mine says: tee hee, and you are) I'm glad I still have it to remind me of those times.  And in honour of this, I'm definitely naming it another Forgotten Gem.



  1. Thanks for this review. I see this CD in the sale bins here from time to time. Might pick it up.

  2. Chris, I'm sure you'll like it, mate. I'm surprised there are still copies around out there. It really is a gem of a disc. I've listened to it a bunch of times again since this review. Let me know what you think if you get it.