Over the course of their 25-year history, New Jersey psych-pop four-piece The Grip Weeds have never downplayed their admiration for John Lennon. The band name itself was taken from Lennon’s character (Musketeer Gripweed) in the 1967 cult film “How I Won the War” and the quartet takes things farther by naming their sixth studio effort after the movie.
“All bands go through their rough periods and The Grip Weeds are no exception,” lead guitarist Kristin Pinell explains. “Being in a band with my husband (Kurt Reil) and brother-in-law (Rick Reil) is a double-edged sword. The familial bond helps us endure some situations that usually kill other bands off. Conversely, it’s tougher to leave arguments in the studio when your bandmates are also your family.”
The addition of new bassist Dave DeSantis helped set The Grip Weeds on the path to making “How I Won the War.” Putting personal beefs aside in favor of the music proved fruitful as the band cobbled together the 17-track, 50-minute slab.
Though the record is a tad overstuffed (songs like “Rise Up,” “Vanish” and “Rainbow Quartz” wouldn’t be missed), there is plenty to like here. Keepers include the title track, “Life Saver,” “Other Side of Your Heart,” “Heaven and Earth” and the closing cover of The Beatles’ “The Inner Light.” “How I Won the War” merits a few spins. (Jeffrey Sisk)