Grand Union: All That Spanish Dust


Grand Union’s debut EP recorded in the spring of 2001 was released in May of the same year as a CD limited to an edition of 200 copies. The EP opens with ‘Hercules’, a beautiful farewell to the 20th Century. Howard Hughes, Elvis, Hendrix, Apollo, Big Oil, TV and The Radio – all the mythical beasts. Floating over a twisting dial a recording of The Grateful Dead’s exasperated A&R manager bemoans the group for ‘living in a fantasy world and looking for sounds that may not even be possible’. Words that spoke to the heart of Grand Union. Rob Lucas’s fluid bass playing perfectly complements Larratt’s laid back feel on the drums – a new bedrock for the samples and loops that were such a big part of the Solar (the band that evolved into Grand Union) sound. ‘This Is Where You Are’ and ‘Santa Maria’ explore the paranoid anxiety that exists just below the surface of life at the turn of the millennium. ‘He’s A Good Man’ is a heartbreaking letter to an alcoholic father. ‘Tourist Call’ closes with frenzied guitars screaming over a recording of a nurse recalling the Battle of El Alamein which she witnessed first hand. There’s a sense of release, a celebration of futility and mortality – ‘it’s just a tourist call for you in this world’. The hapless tourist, gazing from a distance, collecting memories, ticking boxes but somehow disconnected from reality is a theme Grand Union would return to again.