• Grover
  • My Wild Life (Zero Hour) 1995  (Zero Hour/Universal) 1996 

Several years after the end of Let’s Active, guitarist/singer Angie Carlson formed Grover, with ex-bandmate/husband Mitch Easter on bass. Although he subsequently bowed out of the Chapel Hill trio, Easter stuck around long enough to play on and produce some of Grover’s debut album, which was otherwise overseen by Kevin Salem. My Wild Life is roaring pop, a deceptively simple and upbeat record in which emotional turmoil blows up as affecting clouds of tuneful power. On the surface, Carlson’s catchy songs are carefree releases of distortion and feedback; at the album’s heaviest, Grover favors the Breeders a bit. Although she sings with little expressiveness in an ordinary voice, Carlson’s relationship lyrics concede reluctance (“Yeah, I’m Dumb”), diffidence (“Hole in My Eye”), disillusion (“I’m Dreaming”), farewell (“Sweet Thing”), regret (“Heavy Past”), recrimination (“Damaged Girl”) and disdain (“Superhero”). Oddly, “Pretty Machine,” the album’s only enthusiastically positive number, is also its clumsiest. Some people only rain when it’s happy.

[Ira Robbins]