GRAND PRIX: Speed of Sound
By John Carroll
From softer beginnings, frolicking amongst the bluegrass, Grand Prix are proof that a leopard truly can change its spots, put on a leather jacket, hop in a Mustang then cane it down State Highway One. ‘Speed of Sound’ harks back to a time in rock when the music was secondary to the fascinating advancements in aeronautical technology – and its effects on Lynyrd Skynyrd. Though this album doesn’t quite touch the impressive water marks of its American forbears, the backwater feel creates an impossible yet endearing marriage of southern United States rock sensibilities with images of Levin. Hats off to them because this partial separation from their country music base has paid dividends. On this album Grand Prix have allowed themselves freedom to follow the flow of their testosterone, to the benefit of the listener. With instruments oozing analogue texture like cream spilling from a brandy snap, and songs that both rock and roll in no particular order, I can recommend two primary listening methods: For Option A acquire a bean bag, roll a doob’ and crank up the hifi. Option B is for a long drive with this CD in your player, the window down and the sun at your back. Enjoy the silky smooth ’70s fueled rock, just like Skynyrd would’ve done if they hadn’t... you know.