[Album Review] Greys- If Anything
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by Mark Anthony Brennan


Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Label: Buzz Records/Carpark Records

There are artists out there who give a lot of thought to their intended audience. They use terms like “relatable”, and strive to have their music “resonate” with the listener. Then there’s the likes of Greys. Frankly, they are too happy just playing what the hell they want to give a sh%# what you think. It’s the quintessential punk attitude, and Greys have it in spades.

Don’t take my word for it when it comes to their ‘f#%k you’ attitude: “I wish that I could relate,” as they themselves state on their full-length debut ‘If Anything‘, “I wish someone would write a song about me for a change/Man, I wish I’d want it/I wish I felt it.” Yeah, well, wishing is one thing but lead singer Shehzaad Jiwani’s snarl says it all. It has the disdain of hardcore coupled with the world-weariness of grunge.

But, hang on there, no one said this isn’t a good listen. Heck no, this is a really good listen. Greys may lay down a bed of raw, numbing noise rock but they throw in some great melody. At times they even sound like QOTSA (“Flip Yr Lid” and “Girl in Landscape” come to mind), although much angrier and less polished. And, hey, these guys actually have something to say. On “Chick Singer”, for instance, they use a heavy dose of sarcasm to criticize the misogyny that is all too prevalent in rock music, particularly hardcore. They may spit scorn and contempt but that doesn’t mean they don’t care.

Greys aren’t out to live up to anyone’s expectations, but they deliver the goods regardless. The record is an energetic maelstrom of thundering drums, throbbing bass and blaring but tuneful guitar. It satisfies your need for speed but it’s not just an empty adrenaline rush. Consider the closing track “Lull”, where there are moments when Jiwani drops his sneer and the others actually restrain themselves. These glimpses of delicate beauty are brief, and yet they serve as confirmation that there is more to these guys than pure nihilism.

Greys are often labelled “loud rock”, whatever that is supposed to mean. Fact is, Greys are cut from the same cloth as fellow Torontonians METZ. This is fast, in-your-face hardcore, with punk attitude and 90’s sensibilities. If that’s your thing then give ‘If Anything‘ a spin. Just don’t expect them to give a damn whether you listen or not.