Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, Grantura are also blending some of the same inspirations as the Bye Bye Blackbirds to good effect, only without quite synthesising them into an overall sound. The first five songs on In dreams and other stories owe their largest debt to a band each. In order, my ears hear the Monkees, the Byrds, the Rockingbirds, the La’s (that’s a gimme – the song is called ‘Lazarus’ and its opening lines are ‘Nobody thought that we’d see him again / Everybody thought he had gone’), and the Coral, though it’s likely that Grantura sound like the latter and the Rockingbirds as a result of listening to the same source material. These multiple personalities become less surprising when you note that there are three separate writers at work for four of those five songs, with all of them coming together for ‘Lazarus’; and until you get to the seventh song, you’ve heard nothing of Grantura’s fourth composer, who dominates the end of the record. But it’s more CSNY than a compilation album by Various Artists. ‘Waves’ rocks and rolls jauntily, sweetly nuzzling itself into your sleepy, drowning brain, while ‘In dreams’ is the hit single the Byrds forgot to pen. Lee Mavers would probably settle for ‘Lazarus’ in his mind’s eye (if not in its executed form). And would I be right to guess that ‘Land of the big skies’ owes a debt to an East Anglian or Fenland childhood? Not so much country rock as Norfolk county rock.
The Rockingbirds offered a more convincing British interpretation of a sound whose starting point was GP / Grievous angel, which is not to say that Grantura haven’t made a decent record, for they have; but the great play of musical influence back and forth across the Atlantic has worked its best magic when a group on one side twisted a sound to its own ends rather than simply borrow its framework. I’d like to see Grantura twisting harder, or – without wishing to precipitate a band split – what might happen were each writer to go his separate way. Who would be the Neil Young, and who Crosby, Stills or Nash?