Middle European music exudes a dark occult mystery few are capable of achieving. Like some East German ensemble of the early '70s, their heathen Ur-klang combines acoustic guitars, banjos, and bouzoukis with drums and samples that summon up the Ancients." -- Julian Cope
The 2006-07 touring incarnation of Grails included good friend and drummer Ben Nugent, allowing Emil Amos to switch to third guitar for the band's live instrumentation. The DNA of this "guitar-dense" lineup allowed for new types of songs and bigger melodies. In early 2007, the then-five-piece entered Steven Lobdell's (Faust) Audible Alchemy to document the new songs written with this augmented sound, and the resultant sessions make up Take Refuge In Clean Living. (The group has since returned to the original four members). Opening with a nod to Syd Barret's Pink Floyd, the album begins with Morse Code before dropping into one of the heaviest slow-burn grooves in the Grails canon. Sounding something like Hawkwind and Ravi Shankar scoring Bladerunner, it's lysergic and earthy in a new way. The rest of the album moves from blissful Eno-inspired ambience and epic Morricone rock hymns to an unexpected take on a Ventures tune that returns the listener back to the very beginnings of instrumental rock music.