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Music Review: Green River Ordinance – Out of My Hands

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Green River Ordinance (GRO) is a band that I have been championing since I first met and interviewed frontman Josh Jenkins back in 2006. I said then “Every once in a while you come across a band so great, so talented, that you stand back a little, shake your head, and mutter in awe, "Fuck me, they’re fabulous!" Fort Worth, Texas-based Green River Ordinance (GRO) are such band.” I have never wavered in this belief… which is saying a lot for me.

Now three years after that initial exposure they have landed a multi-album contract with Capital/Virgin records, and released their first major-label album, Out of My Hands. Signed they may be, but they have lost none of their power-pop deliciousness.

GRO have an indie-rock/power-pop sound that will remind you of Third Eye Blind, Goo Goo Dolls, or Matchbox Twenty but with a twist of roots rock. Their passionate, emotional lyrics are a little bit country, a little bit pop, a little bit rock-&-roll. GRO's sound is altogether intense and dynamic, sumptuously layered, and rich in warm melodies, harmonies, and rhythms. Their every lyric, melody, harmony, and vocal seem to speak to you with sincerity, honesty and a raw passion.

Josh Jenkins’ vocals feel as natural as well toiled earth, with a charismatic yet sensual playfulness, easily connecting with every word, every emotion, every moment of a song, and seem to hint to a deeper, hidden meaning. One thing that GRO do better than nearly any other band I have encountered is to work together, without ego, without self, but working as one, all perfectly complementing each other. Guitar, bass, and drum are all perfectly judged and played to create GRO's fabulous brand of jangly-guitar-power-pop/indie rock.

Although the band have recycled two tracks from a previous independent release, “Come On”, and “Sleep It Off”, the rest of the 11 tracks on Out of My Hands are brand new. All tracks stick to GRO's signature sound, making this album an easily accessible romp for die-hard fans, and newbies alike.

There are several stand-out tracks on this already impressive album. First track “Outside” is a catchy upbeat number with shamelessly catchy riffs and lyrics. “On Your Own” is a piano filled track that chills the album out with more piano than jangly guitar and makes for a nice change of pace. And of course Jenkins heart-warming lyrics always leave you feeling a little misty eyed; he even manages to make you feel nostalgic for L.A. In another stand-out track “Goodbye, L.A.”. It takes true talent to make you feel longing for a place like L.A. without it feeling syrupy or overplayed.

And easily my favourite track on Out of My Hands is the final one, “Endlessly”. No one can write a love song like Josh Jenkins and company. Maybe it's their stripped back honesty, their hat-in-hand way of saying I love you, that bit of cowboy humility as he tries to express a passionate love he only just dares to admit to himself. It's charming and touching and perfectly done.

Out of My Hands is fun, accessible, and filled with tracks that are easy to listen to or sing-along to. Each track is shamelessly catchy and perfectly executed, but without feeling over produced or unnatural. All that said, I also want to add that now that GRO have this first major-label release under their belts, I would really like to hear them push their sound to the next level. I honestly believe that GRO are the next legend-band in the making and I'm excited to hear where they take their sound next.

You can check-out GRO on their MySpace space, their own website, or you can even follow them on twitter nowadays. Their albums can be picked up at Amazon (by clicking the links on this page) or of course at iTunes.

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About A.L. Harper