In a word, brilliant. The Grape Prophet is an allegorical rock opera by L.S. Underground, which was an offshoot of Michael Knott’s Lifesavors, Lifesavers and Lifesavers Underground. It’s brilliant storytelling through song, and a rocking good time at that. Even though it’s written in allegories, you can get the gist of what Knott is singing about, that being a particular church experience gone bad.
Translated into the song, the results are spectacular. Take The Fold for instance. The song is hard driving rock punctuated by Knott’s screamed lyrics in the chorus, before the song breaks away to the sweet refrains of “Come Into the Fold.” Ellis in the Orchard and the English Interpreter of English are two of the album’s best tracks, both of which are fuelled by snarling guitars. They are also among the more accessible songs. The Grape Prophet Speaks features outlandish prophetic words translated in plain English by Knott, all to the sound of a piano-filled soundtrack. On A Group of Prophets Predict the Pickers’ Future Without Them, the drums sound distorted and hypnotic, while the vocals are distant and somewhat chaotic.
The record also features a couple of instrumentals, Travels and Back to the Orchard, both of which add to the overall mood of the album. From start to finish, The Grape Prophet is a great record and is definitely most appreciated as a collection of 10 songs. It’s good stuff from Knott, whose productivity as a musician in the early ’90s is truly mind boggling.
1. Ellis in the Orchard (4:31)
2. Travels Instrumental (3:10)
3. The Fold (3:59)
4. Wino of the Red Is Stained (3:53)
5. The Grape Prophet Speaks (2:18)
6. English Interpreter of English (3:45)
7. Ellis Converses With the Prophets (3:13)
8. A Group of Prophets Predict the Pickers’ Future Without Them (3:36)
9. She Said (3:30)
10. Back to the Orchard Instrumental (4:39)