Coming out of Philly's trance-jam-rock scene it's no surprise that Grimace Federation is busy opening shows for The Disco Biscuits and performing at the annual Camp Bisco. Considering the company they keep it's also not shocking that there are moments on the band's 2007 debut, Tasted By Chemists (Barn Burner Music) that could pass for STS9 ("Tasted By Chemists" and "Backman's") but where things really get interesting is when they step out of the spacey, atmospheric realm and welcome some guests as they dip into the worlds of hip-hop and Afrobeat.
Although the album is almost all instrumental, it's the addition of Aesop Rock on "Catch 22" that is the shining moment. With Xack Xweig's tasteful vibraphone bubbling under the heavy beats of dual drum team Chris and John Wood Aesop comes in with his trademark style, rolling across the foundation laid by Grimace Federation. In addition to hip-hop heavy hitter Aesop Rock, the album also features the Antibalas horn section on a number of tracks, specifically the seven-minute Afro shake-down "Dangerfield."
Tasted By Chemists is a very solid debut effort by this up-and-coming sextet. By mixing elements of rock, jazz, hip-hop, trance, and Afrobeat they have created an album that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. If this is a sign of things to come, we'll be hearing a lot more out of Grimace Federation.
JamBase | San Francisco
Go See Live Music!