Guy Grogan’s full length Dynamite Bouquet mines a simpler time for simpler songs; almost feeling like an attempt at bedroom necromancy, trying to resurrect the ‘90s on a budget. This isn’t an album concerned with changing any rules, rather it sounds like another effort (in a sea of similar efforts) to create a straightforward record of short, basic heart-on-sleeve indie rock songs capable of soundtracking cynicism-sinking crushes, whether they be in college towns or hip neighborhoods of major cities.
One of Grogan’s strengths is that he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, as evidenced by a playful pause on “Metafixation” and the album’s just-rolled-out-of-bed production. But this also lends to an overall weakness of the album with “My Own Way Out” opening the record like a soggy drunken punch on a miserable night, all muffled guitar fuzz, rattling drum echoes, and nasal vocal sneers that somehow simultaneously sound like they’re trying but also couldn’t really give a shit. You can use your prejudice to guess what kind of album Dynamite Bouquet is from the very first chords and Grogan does little over the album’s 10 tracks to break that judgment. If you like indie-rock-by-numbers, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can almost see his collection of Guided by Voices records propped against the turntable or his fan photo posed in front of the Elliott Smith mural in Silverlake and each song makes that image clearer.