ASH GRUNWALD — Trouble’s Door
Aussie surf-blues king ASH GRUNWALD waxes lyrical just like he does his trusty tri-fin every day on his LP number six. CARMEN KELLY — who also grew up in the water — carves in.
Ash Grunwald’s sixth studio album is a barrel of bass drops and lascivious guitar, with subtle-yet-stoic shutdowns to proud rednecks and gullible right-wingers alike. Ash and his good pal Fingers Malone get dirty blues together with dubstep beats for beers on a tidily-constructed deck.
From start to finish, I’m bopping and squirming and shaking my head, imagining sun-warmed vinyl benchseats and Mrs Palmers boardwax applied with a dirty comb. Glitch-free structures keep on chooglin’ and, whilst driven, seem nonplussed to what you, your mum or your friends might think.
The occasional girl group BVs sugar-rim Ash’s old-man voice (as ever surprising, considering it’s coming out of a young man’s mouth) — which finally unhinges itself in a beautiful go at Hank Williams’ Ramblin’ Man, his vibrato glugging out like honey over Weetbix. Closing track What You Had sounds like it’s been recorded through a piece of felt underneath someone’s house.
Politically, Ash is an endearing flag-flyer. Trouble’s Door could have fallen into first-world lefty stomp-box shtick — yet it doesn’t, deepening both musically and sentimentally with every listen. The dreadlocked footstomper shames racists in serious blues romps that I could ironically imagine mainstream festivalgoers losing their shit to. He points the finger without being high-horsed, admitting that he’s “been as guilty as anyone.”
If I see Ash Grunwald in the street, I reckon I’ll give him a high-five. There are no good or bad pant-accidents here, but it’s a fantastic album nonetheless.
CARMEN KELLY is not fiercely loyal to any one genre, but rather loyal to the ’70s. She’s a bargain bin vinyl hoarder and can play about 20 instruments, including the recorder and triangle.