Grey for Good
Grey for Good is available at:
30 September, 2015
FROM the reviewing streets of Brooklyn- following my review of Yellow Shoots- it…
is back to London: once again at the feet of a stunning and exciting young band. Before I introduce them to you, it brings me to the topics of London/U.K. bands and heavier sounds- the perils and hazards one can face. It is hard trying to keep a track of all the bands coming through at the moment: those that are great and worthy; those mediocre and in need of patience- those that just suck a big ol’ hairy one. Over the years I have been doing this blog, I have witnessed some fantastic groups- with few average ones in the pack- and loved all they have had to offer. When it comes to the public buck, the band market is still the most lucrative and money-spinning: pound-for-pound the band sector is the most popular and sought-after. It is not hard to see why I guess: historically, bands have always produced the best albums and moments; today that is probably the case- although the solo market is making grounds. It is just that strength-in-numbers ability: You have more members and more options; the ability to share the creative workload- radio stations and festivals seem to gravitate towards bands too (as opposed to solo acts and duos). Although there is a big market out there, it is not good enough- with regards new acts coming through- to just be lazy and phone it in- you have to earn your place at the table. I hear too many groups that replicate others; sling together something generic and formulaic- expecting the public to salivate and cling to their bosoms. The best bands are those that go the extra mile: project something with grit and heart; resonance and lashings of memorability- something that digs right into the soul. When it comes to my tastes, I love a band that can rock hard: Produce great anthems and meaty riffs; plenty of on-point messages and strong vocals. London is showing how it should be done- as are Yorkshire and Manchester- with a real revival happening: in the past, the capital has faltered slightly; it is coming back strong- some wonderful bands are playing around London. Being in contact with a fair few of them, it is a really exciting time in music. Britain is tussling with U.S. to see who can produce the best music has to offer- it is hard to see who is winning the race. Gelato are a band that are fairly new and fresh: They have produced a couple of cuts and are looking to launch an E.P. – the initial signs are all promising and positive. Having reviewed their track Room Service, I am back with them once more. What impresses me about the boys is their rugged and raw sound: they cross elements of Nirvana and Grunge; little bit Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age- U.S.-led and going for the upper end of the quality meter. When the vocals persists and endeavor, hints of Kurt Cobain are there; when the guitars and percussion dance with bass- and get the mosh-o-meter at its peak- there are definite Foo-cum-Queens shades- without ever straying too close to their paths. It is not just the sound and style that stuns me: the way the boys perform shows how tight-knit they are; how passionate they are about things. Having toured with the likes of Echo Boom Generation- another London-based powerhouse- they have enthralled the live crowds; garnered a great reputation- this has parlayed into their studio-based efforts. There are a lot of twenty-something Rock bands out there; it is a tough market to crack- the trio are well on their way to achieving stardom. Before I raise a new point, let me introduce you to them:
“The head-hitting, high-energy pace of GELATO brings a solid rock sound with pop undertones, reminiscent of the Foo’s, Queens, and more.
After months of throat-shredding, string-snapping & stick-shedding, here is their debut EP, recorded with Tobin Jones (Bo Ningen, Twilight Sad, Cold Specks) and spearheaded by first single Room Service”.
With the scene filling with some energetic and anthem-penning bands, it is vital the songs make the biggest impression. On their latest cut- which I shall get to shortly- the guys are at their most impressive and memorable. Their songwriting is original and stunning- their lyric perspective and phrasing has few equals- whilst the playing is at its most primal and nuanced. Few bands manage to create songs that are pummeling and intelligent; appeal to all genre-loving fans- they create songs that are designed to get the late-night venue-goers singing aloud. It has been a year-and-a-half since Gelato unveiled their debut E.P.: their next moves are going to be very interesting; see how their next E.P. will compare- and whether there are any big changes. Given what has come before- and how it was received- there is no need to tinker with the music too much- the instinct and quality the band has is exceptional. I have oft-mentioned the popularity and influence the mainstream gods are having- your Royal Blood and Foo Fighters- which is inspiring a lot of young bands to write and perform. Grey for Good is the London band’s attempt to forge some serious headway: make their voices heard and register their campaign with style- after a single listen you certainly are compelled to investigate them further. With that live ability and flair, they translate this into focused and nuanced studio cuts- Grey for Good is as good a song you will hear from a Rock band this year.
When looking at Gelato’s current offering- and how they have evolved as a band- it is worth looking back. With a new E.P. coming soon, the boys have a full head of steam- clearly ready to drop something quite impressive and fresh. When Gelato’s self-titled E.P. was dropped, I was stunned by the confidence and range of sounds. Although they are a Rock/Alternative band- a lot of their peers are quite narrow and stringent with their experimentation- the boys showed how effective diversity and adventurousness could be. Get My Way begins with some Queens of the Stone Age buzz- imagine their work across Era Vulgaris; bits of Eagles of Death Metal too- and you get an idea of the ambition. Although our hero’s vocal has a smattering of Josh Homme’s cool-cum-razor attack, the band retains a very British sensibility. Not allowing their music to sound too similar to anything else; they cheekily nod to Queens’- have a play with their formula; the wordless coos and Desert-Rock swagger- and adapt it for their means. The lyrics and story are very much their own: The suffocation and anxieties that resonate come from a very person place; it is not cribbed from anyone else. Room Service (their biggest hit to date) has a similarly Grunge-laden/Q.O.T.S.A. introductory blast- it crawls and licks; sweats and winds. What strikes me about the song is the band’s tightness and authority. When portraying something U.S.-inspired and anthem-grabbing- the song again has some sneaks of Queens’; bit of Foo Fighters- bands usually replicate and lazily rehash. Here, the band injects some idiosyncrasies and distinct vibrancy: there is a composition that has come from their jam sessions; their own ingredients are tossed into the pot. It is nice to hear some familiarity in music- a little nod to your current heroes and favourites- whilst ensuring your music has its own D.N.A. Gelato ends with Ruffians: Perhaps the E.P.’s most insistent and energised number; it has some Grunge elements to it. The guys marry that ‘90s sound with something of-the-moment; Alternative and Indie shades tease alongside Queens’-esque sensations. A number that twists and dances throughout- it is the E.P.’s most addictive and head-spinning numbers- it ends on a natural high. The three-track collection is focused and economical; it provides plenty of bang and nuance- leaving you wanting more; it keeps you coming back.
Grey for Good is a step forward for the band: here they sound more distinct and original; they keep the elements of U.S. legends- but their latest track has more confidence and sense of identity. Retaining their debut swagger, cool; charm, catchy songwriting- there is a little more discipline and danger. Sounding more authoritative and stunning than ever; here the London band stamp their claim on the market- marking themselves out as one of our most impressive and potential-laden acts. A sample of their upcoming work, it makes you wonder what (the E.P.) will contain: If they stick with the sound/dynamic of its lead-off track; mix in some of their debut sound- or pull off something brand-new and fresh.
Grey for Good is the boys’ latest cut and- if initial reviews and outpouring is to be believed- it is one of their finest and most fully-formed efforts. Beginning with a spirited and springing riff- one that bounces and kicks- the introductory moments certainly set the stage: The riffs fizz and strike; the percussion remains light and persistent- the bass keeps everything composed and balanced. Before the vocal kicks in, the composition steps up a notch: Reminding me of debut-album Rage Against the Machine- and the expansive and colourful palette guitarist Tom Morello unleashed- you get a flair of U.S.-‘90s-Rap-Metal. Sounding less indebted to the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters; the track begins with a different ambition: It has a smattering of familiarity; yet has a uniquely Gelato flavor; a British sound- something that was not overly-evident on their debut E.P. Like all Gelato songs, there is urgency and passion from the outset- no time to build-up and tease; straight in with the meaty hooks and menace. Before the 0:30 mark; the percussion comes more into the fray: Bursting and swaggering, the entire band combine with force- ensuring the maximum amount of intrigue and mouth-watering is created. Although there are some nods to U.S. giants- some Nirvana shades and still a lingering of Queens’- there seems to be a new side to the band’s side- they have gained confidence and developed their style slightly; never compromising their ethics and core sound. Grey for Good never relents its sense of mystique and vivacity; the composition keeps swinging and campaigning- keeping that catchy and insatiable energy high and prescient. Perhaps the vocal is mixed a little too low-down- and it can be hard to pick out a few of the lyrics; lines have gaps, making it hard to piece it together clearly- but the emphasis is on the overall mood and sound. To mind, and the one word that stands out from the song, is “procrastinate”- something that seems to direct link to the song’s title. You get images of a premature grey: Someone that is wasting his time and whiling away his dreams; hesitating and holding back- there is that ever-present danger and death. The song’s video- that sees an elderly man and his young compatriot watching videos on a laptop; drinking whiskey and laughing- juxtaposes the song’s true nature. Whilst the video sees an old man living it up; showing a youthful recklessness and rebellion- the song’s central figure seems to a transposition. The vocal constantly pokes and prods its hero; the determination and passion breaks through the composition- always striking the ear and impressing with its determined spirit.
It is probably worth digging into the lyrics- must confess I asked the band for a lyrics sheet; give me a chance to investigate them- and see what the song is really about. “Nasty scene in the underground/guys walks in and bumps his head/forgot you’re not allowed to stare” are the first offerings: They are oblique and mysterious; distant and bounteous- any spin can be provided on this. To me, I think of the music industry in general; the bustle and cut-throat double-cross and deceit. That need to get ahead and being let down: Bands and acts that suffer if they are ambitious; prosper if they conform to set ideologies. Perhaps I am way off- and the lyrics hold openness for all to decipher- but you could be looking at a more general scenario. When the lines “Sitting in the corner/he’s working on that air of innocence/remember nobody said it was fair”. I am not sure why, but my mind keeps playing on that idea: The music business and the struggle for appeal and real estate; the lyrics are both original and intelligent- they say so much with very few syllables; make you think and imagine. As the song develops- and the chorus comes in- there are more life/romantic notions: “Save yourself some brain/Don’t want to cross the line/you & I the same”. It is hard to pull away from musical realms; although you could find some space thinking about relationships and their dynamics. The lines look at overthinking and dumbing-down; mortality and staying young- again; that swirl of ambiguity and economy. Later lyrics look at being trapped “inside the lens, we helped create” and feeling a bore. There is just metaphor and miscomprehension; that numbness and dumb feeling- perhaps a symptom of youth or that feeling of becoming old too soon. Throughout the song I am split between age and music: The struggle to stay sensible and focused; young and in your prime- maybe just that need to stand out and be individual. Whatever the true meaning- by the end of the song our hero has submitted; is dead- you feel like the battle is lost; there is not point to hoping. It is good to know the lyrics- and hope the band put them across social media- as it allowed me to give my own take on things- although the boys will be grinning slyly; knowing I am way off the mark. That is the great thing about Grey for Good: It is a song whose composition is straight and defined; the lyrics juxtapose and allow everyone to adapt them for their own means.
What is great about Grey for Good is that combination of band parts: The composition itself inspires the feet to kick and move; the arms to raise themselves aloft- it is a track that is destined for the large crowds and eager gig-goers. As you get caught up in the wave of strings and percussion, you are always drawn in a few directions. That Nirvana influence is there but not necessarily too heavy- as with Queens of the Stone Age remnants- but you can’t fault the band’s expertise and intuition. Throughout the track, they are completely sure of their lyrics and direction; they never sound nervous or unsure- a band brimming with assuredness and grit; a real unstoppable energy. As I said before, the song never lets go of its rush and vibrancy. Perhaps the ambiguity and slight decipherability issue gives the song an open-for-interpretation beauty: Each listen can extrapolate as they feel; paint their own conclusions- and imagine they own truth. To me, there is that necessity to get up and start living life; to stop sitting around and waiting for things to happen- being stuck in a rut and skipping the benefits of youth.
In the current scene there is a lack of music depth and intelligence- when it comes to a lot of Rock and Alternative bands. Gelato have always shown a side of sophistication. A lot of contemporaries tend to just go for standard themes and lowest-common-denominator levels- focusing on love and its ills; the perils of heartache- whereas the London band dig deeper and come up with something dramatic and scenic- focusing on characters and uncommon issues. Grey for Good is not as shiny and over-polished as a lot of contemporary Rock- and even Nirvana’s Nevermind was too glossy- which makes the core messages and sound more authentic and murky; a little dirty and ragged. I have hinted at some intelligibility qualms- and that may just be down to the mixing; perhaps a deliberate distortion- but that does not detract from the song’s anthemic and fist-aloft appeal; the way it gets inside the head and provokes fascination and imagery. Drew, Phil and Ben are a trio that is completely in-step and tight: The performances here show no weakness and lack of discipline. With their soul being back in the ‘90s- when their idols began their careers- there is a modern aesthetic and sound too- it could easily slot into any festival bill and underground radio rotation. Grey for Good is a good indication to the forthcoming E.P.: It would be good to see the boys expand and try something softer perhaps; broaden their sonic range and maybe take the mood down a little. I love their latest cut because it keeps the spirits up and prompts the listener to use their imagination and get lost inside the song. There are too many flimsy and simplistic songs floating about music; few bands that try anything different and unexpected. Gelato always bring the goods, and they have done again here- producing their most urgent and immediate tracks to date. Everything they produce is designed for the masses- it does not alientate the audience- and has plenty of punch and fun to suit any tastes.
The Gelato boys have once more produced a razor-sharp and bristling track: It is alive with danger and energy; catchy strings and primal percussion; dramatic vocals and cutting lyrics. Few bands around manage to tick all boxes and attack on all fronts- for that reason; the boys should be very proud. Of course, this is a good sign with regards their E.P. – it is likely to be even stronger than its predecessor. I am very excited about some of the bands coming out of London: we have a lot of wealthy and healthy home-grown talent- those that could ascend to the mainstream and give it a much-needed injection of quality. As 2015 draws into its winter moments, it is tempting to look back and reflect on the best music that has come- see what 2016 might produce. From speaking with Drew- the band’s leader-in-chief- the band is jazzed about the future. They have toured the U.K. and Europe; a young band who have achieved an awful lot- with a lot more great things to come. Their sounds- that marry ‘90s Grunge and U.S. stadium Rock- is primed for a slot at Reading and Leeds; you could well see them at big festivals very shortly. I hope they come and play Boileroom very soon- a great venue very close to me- and bring their brand of awesome-ness to the fans here. Grey for Good is an indication of their hunger and desire: they are a trio that wants to remain for many years; inspire and join with others- take their music as far as they can. The band market is a packed and busy one: there are so many competition; few ever make it all the way; get to rub shoulders with their idols. It would be easy to say that Gelato have it in the bag; they are sure-thing successors and kings- they are just starting out so that may be incongruous. What I can say is they have all the ammunition and potential: with each new release their confidence and quality expands; they notch up another gear. Before concluding, let’s consider what the mainstream is offering; how many truly unique bands there are- that grab you upon first listen; compel you to dig further. I have reviewed some terrific acts this year- that I keep coming back to and really stick in the mind- but I am looking at the mainstream at the moment. It is true, there are fewer bands here- as it is the peak of music success- but the ‘best’ out there aren’t really as stunning as you’d imagine. The acts that fly under the radar have made the biggest impressions; those that have been hotly-anticipated and bigged-up have not really lived up to the hype. With that in mind, it means there is potential for some new and underground acts to claim their places. Gelato are happy enough making music and seeing how things go: enticing the crowds and seeing where their travels take them- taking one step at a time. Their success last year has motivated and propelled them to keep creating and working- with every new step they reveal fresh layers and something enticing. If you have a chance to see them live, do not miss the chance- and witness one of our best young bands in their element. As I plan the next reviews and scan around the musical landscape, it has been an exciting and fun last few weeks- I am really impressed by the quality of music coming out. We all need sounds that lift us and dig deep inside the brain: raise the mood and do something primal and elemental. Gelato have the fuel and songbook to produce a near-future: They are a band that could easily entrance across ten or eleven tracks; really do something wonderful- let’s hope 2016 affords them the opportunity to do this. If you are lost for some great new bands; are hankering for an instantaneous and epic song; music that puts you in a better place- then look no further than Grey for Good. Sit back, buckle in and discover something…
PRIMED for the major leagues.