Grasshopper Pie 

Gypsy Sky

Grasshopper Pie
Gypsy Sky

Formed five years ago, when drummer John Horvath, bassist Warren Kile, singer-guitarist Greg Lesinski, and singer-guitarist Mike Switzer were students at Bowling Green, Grasshopper Pie is a neo-hippie band that wears its Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers influences a little too proudly on its collective sleeve. The band, which is based out of Bowling Green and prefers to call itself a "rock and roots" act, regularly plays throughout northern Ohio and recorded Gypsy Sky, its debut, at Thornapple Sound Recording in Columbus. Its busy tour schedule has undoubtedly contributed to the easy, free-flowing nature of the 14 songs on its debut, many of which sound like they could have gone on for several minutes longer, but were simply faded out at the end.

Chirpy tracks such as "Edisto" and "The Pick-Up" have that annoying Phish-like sound that makes the hippies spin, but the band is better off on more subdued tracks like the title song and the moody, percussion-heavy "Optimist." Even if Switzer and Lesinski don't nail the vocal harmonies, both songs have distinct melodies and tight arrangements that suggest the band's songwriting skills go beyond the noodling guitars that are featured prominently in tracks such as "Firefly" and "Jasmine."

Ultimately, though, there are too many failed attempts to play music from different genres: "Jasmine" comes off as a faux Latin rock number, complete with Santana-like guitar solo; "Wine" pretends to be a bluegrass number with nominal banjo riffs (courtesy of guest Ben Bachert); and "Grasshopper Blues" begins with a gritty blues guitar riff that unfortunately gives way to fake funk and more noodling guitars. -- Niesel


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