Grand Champeen Out Front by the Van
Reviewed by Christopher Hess, Fri., Feb. 4, 2000
Out Front by the VanAny album that can bind a listener's musical past with the present and hoped-for future is bound to end up in the regular rotation at home, and if you're one who insists that unsentimental, booze-blasted roots rock shall indeed never die, then local quartet Grand Champeen's debut, Out Front by the Van, should find its way to your boombox soon. Early listens to Out Front ... conjure a long procession of comparisons, bands like the Replacements, Uncle Tupelo, and Soul Asylum (before they got stupid), but Grand Champeen puts their own indelible stamp on the tradition with classic hooks and a thoroughly original voice. Opening rave-up "Crossing" evokes the Clash's version of "I Fought the Law," while "Train Whistle" sounds uncannily like early-Tweedy-Tupelo had Songs: March 13 - 18 been an electric album. The entire album is country-ish rock without alt.rock pretense, bar rock without posturing, and easily one of the most promising debuts from a local rock band in recent memory. Next time Grand Champeen plays the Hole in the Wall, get yer ass down there to see them.