Willard Grant Conspiracy
Regard the End
First Appeared at The Music Box, March 2004, Volume 11, #3
Written by John Metzger
Last summer, the critically acclaimed collective known as the Willard Grant Conspiracy bypassed the U.S. market and released overseas Regard the End, its fifth album. For those who are unaware, the Boston-based band was formed in 1995 by singer Robert Fisher, though his supporting cast has been a revolving door of talent. On its new album alone, performance credits were granted to 15 musicians plus a trio of guest vocalists. Such a turbulent line-up shouldnít be able to function, yet Fisher manages quite admirably to pull it all together.
Mixing blues and American folk, the 11 tunes featured on Regard the End mostly fit bleak lyrics with even bleaker music while commenting with bittersweet reflection on the subjects of love, loss, death, and redemption. Fisherís vocals recall those of Nick Cave, and the music that surrounds him is typically as brooding, melancholy, and autumnal as the image that graces the albumís cover. Like Cave, Fisher succeeds in finding beauty in the macabre, and the acoustic instrumentation that adorns his songs is absolutely lovely even as it drips with sorrow and pain. Although Regard the End isnít likely to thrust the Willard Grant Conspiracy into the limelight, it is inclined to solidify the bandís cult appeal for its somber, yet uplifting, intonations are a huge step forward in the groupís ongoing evolution. Ĺ
Regard the End is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box