Dilute – Grape Blueprints Pour Spinach Olive Grape

3 out of 5

Produced by: Jay and Ian Pellicci (recorded by)

Label: 54’40 or Fight!

Reading too deeply into things, after the dense, raucous rattle of Dilute’s debut, The Gypsy Valentine Curve – contained in an earthy cardboard-colored sleeve, stamped with a design of a broken, serrated and spiraling circle – comes the response: the comparatively dilute (nyuck) Grape Blueprints Pour Spinach Olive Grape, now in a clean, white sleeve, marked by a single open loop, the color of blood.  An angsty rumble in the mud on album one, ascended into the heavens for downward-gazing contemplation on album two.

Yeah, reading too deeply.

Still, the noodly guitar and sudden explosions into anarchy and garbled shouts from lead singer Marty Anderson are repeated here, but drawn out into a much more languorous pace, stretched over two “acts” which each have something of a centerpiece: the 8+ minute Alphabet on part one, and the 10+ minute 0 on part two.  These are sprawling, incredibly engaging tracks themselves, fully satisfying the interest sparked by Gypsy’s unpredictability.  But the rest of Grape’s runtime isn’t so concerned with listener participation, as similar sounding wanderings – a vaguely jazzy pitter-patter, sometimes topped by Anderson’s creepy, creaky whisper-vocals – burble about pleasantly in support of those centerpieces, but without much of a sense of their own identity.  Without glancing at the track listing, it’s an interesting experience of being lulled into safety before shaken awake by the pair of mini-epics.  But there’s a sense we should be getting more from these other songs than we do.

While Gypsy is definitely the place to start, Grape Blueprint is an interesting cool down record to toss on right afterwards.  It’s not nearly as arresting, but the highlights definitely make it worth it.