Come close, dearest fucko, and dig the old, smelly breed: Grafton. But before we start, let’s have a pop quiz, for we are all thinking adults, schooled, literate beings, are we not? To you I pose the following query: What is the sound of desperation? Nay, not desperation as in “I neeeeeed to be heard above the mountain of dunggg otherwise known as ‘modern music’.” Nor even desperation in the form of “I’m filled with angst because I’m in a fight with my special lady and it’s really tearing me up inside and I gotta get it out, bro.” Grafton shit out that sort of turd a decade ago into a broken toilet in some dude’s house who let them stay there after a gig one night. Theirs is more of the end-of-the-line, don’t have a hell of a lot to fucking live for but this, desperation. Many try, very few can lay claim to it. This beast, Jumpstart Wire, you have in your possession, is the sound of unhinged desperation. And forget that band of British tarts from a while back, when Lou Poster screams on “Never Had Less” — that is the real primal scream, Nigel. For, truth be told, Grafton have lived the uncherished life since forming a decade ago: they’ve been shat upon, fired, stranded, frozen out, stiffed, seen friends die, been passed over by better looking bands, and all those hard knocks add up to the furious snort contained herein. If one must suffer for his art, it could be argued you hold the MagnafuckingCarta here, Nadine. Ah yes, the sound, what of the sound? Critical Theory is built upon precedents, yes. Ok, then think of the fattest, most inbred version of Black Oak Arkansas (circa High on the Hog) with Blixa Bargeld sitting in on guest Stihl chainsaw. See Hoss, when people call Grafton, “backwoods” (and plenty have), they get it about half right. On this, their third longplayer, they go so far backwoods that they keep crawling and run smack into the industrial rendering plant on the other side of the forest. The resultant burp might best be labeled “industrial swamp” or “kudzu metal” or even “recently laid-off from assembly line job.” Just listen to the hot-jizz riffs on cuts like “I Say Try” or the positively molten “Gave You Up” and see if you don’t begin to see the permanent glower on Poster’s face. That their hometown of Columbus (“the thick gray” as it’s otherwise known) has also been home at one time or another to the likes of the Gibson Brothers, Bassholes, Cheater Slicks, and New Bomb Turks, is inconsequential. Take a listen to the sound of Grafton on Jumpstart Wire and all those close cousins begin to fade into the gray. This is the sound of a trio who have little time for nuance, shades of distinction, or artistic ass-baggery. Pretension has a negative life-span in Grafton’s world, and what they are living, painful as it is, is what you get. And quite clearly, these are desperate times.
– Jerry Dannemiller February 2007
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