Active Child: Rebuilding An Impossible Sound


Hanging On

5 min 30 sec
Active Child at KEXP Studios in Seattle. i

Active Child at KEXP Studios in Seattle.

Dave Lichterman/KEXP hide caption

itoggle caption Dave Lichterman/KEXP
Active Child at KEXP Studios in Seattle.

Active Child at KEXP Studios in Seattle.

Dave Lichterman/KEXP

Hear More Songs From The Session

High Priestess

2 min 54 sec

Playing House

3 min 57 sec

Johnny Belinda

5 min 31 sec

After Active Child's breathtaking performance live on KEXP, it was all I could do not to make good on my promise to lock the band members up in a box and take them out just to play music for me every day. Principal songwriter Pat Grossi has found just the right combination of sounds — from electronic, almost machine-like noises to warm, natural tones — on his recent full-length debut, You Are All I See, and the result translates incredibly well live.

Developed during his early years in the Philadelphia Boys Choir, Grossi's voice has unbelievable range and control. He can start as deep as Ian Curtis' baritone and rise to an otherworldly falsetto, making his music even harder to classify as dance, classical, rock or some combination of all three. Watching him strum his small touring harp, I realized how much I took those sounds on the album for granted and assumed they were electronic. Beautiful melodies seemed to flow from it effortlessly, but Grossi mentioned in our interview that he struggles with the instrument constantly. Listening to this session, you'd never know.

Since the last time the group performed live on KEXP, Active Child has added another new member to its lineup. While bassist and keyboard player Stratton Easter has been filling out the songs and providing backing vocals with Grossi for some time, new drummer Brennan Rhodes adds a more lively presence. As a trio, they really bring to life what seems to be an impossible sound. If that's not impossible, then neither could packing them up and taking them home with me, right?



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