[Album Review] Greys- Outer Heaven
3.5Rating
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greys

Release Date: April 22nd, 2016
Label:  Buzz Records / Carpark Records

Following their successful 2014 debut album, Greys could have rested on their laurels and cranked out more of the same. But they didn’t. Instead they took some risks, testing the boundaries of their sound. The result is a far more satisfying and innovative album the second time around, even if they did rupture the envelope in a couple of spots by pushing too hard.

When the boys take a foray into REM-style electric pop (“Erosion”) it sounds seamless, as if that is their normal style of playing. Not only that but they fold in subtle layers of complexity without bogging the song down. There are a couple of other quieter moments on the album, but there is no question that Greys are at their best when they work with noise. On both “Blown Out” and “In For a Penny” pounding drums start the commotion, but they are soon joined by wailing guitars – complaining, yes, but still willing to whoop it up, sometimes jangly, sometimes screeching. There’s an artsy mathiness to it, even though it is uninhibited and wild at the same time.

Perhaps the best track is “Sorcerer”. It has one of those foot pedal/bass/distorted guitar build-ups that Ireland’s Girl Band are famous for. However, Greys take several excursions – manic noise guitar riffs, a creepy ambient/drone interlude, twinkling jazz piano, you name it. Close to the end the music almost fades away only to be resuscitated with a blood-curdling yell by singer Shehzaad Jiwani. It’s art/noise rock perfection.

Not everything works perfectly, however. “If It’s All the Same to You”, for instance, starts out as a terrific, high energy garage number with some great reverb guitar and a psychedelic melody, but then Jiwani yells the line “It doesn’t matter” over and over. I mean, over and over. Almost tunelessly. It doesn’t exactly make for an earworm, and the song suffers for it.

But Greys can be forgiven for trying a little too hard. After all, there is far more good (nay, great) than there is bad, and you gotta give them credit for not taking the easy way out.