Greys started out as a noise rock band, and, to an extent, they still are. But on Outer Heaven, the harshness sits alongside notably-melodic tunes and some more dream-pop textures. So what they end up with is both sweet and sour, and also charged with an angry / ecstatic energy: a pretty great formula! On Carpark.
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Greys realised they were kinda overdoing it with the whole angular noise rock thing, so they’ve spent some time doubling down on ‘Outer Heaven’, opting to throw in some melodic tunes that lie halfway between pop-era Porcupine Tree and the soundtrack to Spiderman 2. “Cruelty” is a sweet ‘lil song riding by on a hopeless guitar riff and vocals that accentuate each and every forlorn sigh. “No Star” sees the band transition, live-action, from the new band they want to be into the old one they were, Shehzaad Jiwani’s vocals going from pop-punk to furious post-hxc like the flicking of a lightswitch.
What’s interesting is how both of the band’s aesthetics sound united: the melodies all retain the same basic constitution, even as they hop from one genre to the next. It shows when they strip away the distortion and the drums, or when they lead up to a climax. “If It’s All The Same To You” is driven into dirge by its chunky bridging chords and a way-loose bass line, blending kindly verses with the kinda one-note skramz choruses that might have gone into an early Feeder record. At some point, they tether it together with a guitar line that’s just pretty enough. For a noise rock band, Greys are pretty into the Just About moments.
It’s a variable pic ‘n’ mix, this record, except you like it all; no cannon fodder sweets here, just things running into things with unwavering faith that it’ll all come out consistent. It does; ballads and noise burps and all things good firmly put Greys out of the sound development phase and into the pretty good band phase.
8/10 Ben Straughair Customer review, 27th June 2016
Before the plate is on the platter “Outer Heaven” begins its social commentary. At distance the sleeve art, presented in an over-proved & fleshy pallet, resembles perhaps entrails upon a rusty abattoir floor. Up close, which is where this album gets, the cover is revealed to be an abstract image of North Korean massed gymnasts, ordered, aligned, controlled. Singer-guitarist Shehzaad Jiwani’s range stretches from Evan Dando introspective reflection to Kurt Cobain raw throated protest and is embalmed in a Perry Farrell psychotropic. Produced and engineered by the band, Mike Rocha and Greg Smith in Montreal at Hotel2Tango/Riverworks Music studios. Memorable choral hooks, pogo punk guitar riffs and post-production effects pull the listener into and along on an engaging and erratic excursion through a post-apocalyptic dystopia.
This passionate and energetic release from the Canadian post punk speed grungers is an explosive harmonisation of opposing forces. The albums inner ‘Tyler Durden’ constantly fights its way to the surface throughout the long playing battle. Appeased only by phasing moments of soul searching clarity. ‘Marla Singer’ movements that punctuate the power struggle at perfectly placed points. The sombre melancholy of ‘Cruelty’ lulls the listener into fall sense of security, a theme that runs throughout the album. Rocket launching into the anthemic ‘No Star’ laden with riot noise distortion, nosebleed percussion and reverberated vocals, reminiscent of Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’. In ‘Blown Out’ “All my friends are going crazy” is the disparate maddening cry. The condition somewhat remedied with ‘Erosion’, a plateau of peace amidst the debris of fracturing realities, relapses with ‘Complaint Rock’ a singable/moshable raging screw you to the system. The trippy phased out sets the teeth on edge in a Thorazine grin to accompany the frat lampooning of ‘In for a Penny’. Sensory overload pushes us to the edge of the precipice of lunacy, which promptly crumbles under toe, leaving the listener free-falling, into the chrome chorus and dirge delay waves of ‘Strange World’. A trip within a trip, a transcendental myriad of flown cuckoos as much as it is a kaleidoscopic psychotic episode. An episode that approaches its conclusion with a reflexive fist to the face. The hyper aware overstimulated carnival of paranoiac destabilisation that is ‘The Sorcerer’. Soft rain like cymbals and industrial drums buried in psychedelic rock guitars and horror movie vocal harmonies plays out in three acts like the death throes of an operatic protagonist, to the conclusion. ‘My Life as a Cloud’, quite literally the morning after the night before, arrives like shade on a sunny day of shame shivers and guides the listener to safety. A secure, warm, padded, protective and womb like place. Leaving the listener happy and spent.
If you’ve had a bad day, bad week, bad vibe, buy this album, stick it on, stick up a middle finger and stick it to the man.
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