Chris Stroffolino, Continuous Peasant’s lead singer, is an English professor. This builds potentially unreasonable expectations — how many times did you look at that balding, unshaven man in his wrinkled suit and tie, with his deep, soothing voice and always bleary eyes (is he a drunk, you wondered briefly, until the day he took his allergy medication in the middle of a lecture), as he lectured you on the finer points of interpreting Dostoyevsky, and imagine him fronting a rock band? Well, okay — maybe you didn’t all do that. You still have to admit it sounds pretty fuckin’ awesome.Although Professor Stroffolino’s presence implies a certain measure of depth in the band’s lyrics, a line from “All I’m Saying” swiftly puts an end to those notions: “Peer pressure is bad and so is your dad.” That isn’t just unfortunate — it’s a disaster. Even when you discard your expectations, Intentional Grounding seems half-hearted. Stroffolino’s voice has a bit of Jeff Tweedy’s plain-spoken sadness — appropriate, seeing as Continuous Peasant apparently borrowed a lot of their songcraft from Tweedy’s band — but he also adopts Bob Dylan’s aggravating inflection when it suits him. His perpetually laid-back delivery is strained whenever the band picks up the tempo, as they do in the unconvincing punk anthem “You Don’t Believe In Nuthin'”.
Ultimately, Intentional Grounding is just lazy alt-country. Even if you didn’t have your hopes up for the world’s most rocking English professor, that’s disappointing.
Previously published on Splendid