Having been a fan of GREYE since their single Windows, it was a joy to hear of this full length project – their unique approach to Americana and rock has something of their own about it. With this new release, the band and the playlist don’t disappoint. What If I starts things off with a surprising level of volume and weight, reaching out for the attention of listeners far and wide – an understandable choice for the album’s single. Things calm down a little after this though, turning to more inherently thoughtful vibes that embrace and fascinate.
Need is an early highlight, an explosive pop-rock offering that arrives soaked in the high passion, hooks and quirks of the 90s, but with numerous layers of freshness running through. The album’s title track follows and mellows things out a little, Hannah Summer’s vocals settle into something smoother and gentler. There’s a warmth and a certain air of depth to this one, it’s poetic and interesting and sees you into the rest of the project in a positive way.
Crusade seems to have a flicker of Incubus about it, the songwriting is particularly interesting, loaded with imagery and metaphor, and there’s a delicate musical progression within, keeping things smooth and colourful, characterful, but accompanying the increasing passion of the concept and the lead singer’s delivery in a fitting way. Josephine follows and is a stunning song, drenched in those authentic Americana vibes, right down to the story-telling. The quickness of the verse melody broadens the dynamic and adds more of that alternative vibe that we know and love the band for. A definite highlight. Hannah Summer’s vocals suit the mood and movement of this song flawlessly.
Get Back In It is equally beautiful, the longer verse melody lines work so well, paving the way creatively and cleverly towards what is a simple and uplifting, easily memorable hook section. The song inspires and motivates in an organic and genuine way. The soundscape has a few flickers of funk and a certain style that’s well received at this point. In all honesty, this album moves from good to great the further you get into it – this latter half increases your belief in that significantly. The next few times you listen to these songs they hit with a whole new level of impact.
The final quarter brings a considerate and gentle song called Tarot, which encapsulates its title’s implied concept under a hopeful and mildly theatrical – slightly musical theatre-like – spotlight. This is not without those essential dashes of stylish guitar work from Jett Wolfe, and another perfectly impressive performance from Summer. The song evolves into something else entirely during its latter half, reminding you of that underlying creative freedom the band so proudly possess.
Let’s Straighten It Out stands alone from the offset for its piano-led ambiance and this gentle, soulful feel that it presents. In terms of arrangement this is really well placed. The lyrics proceed to offer something deeply personal, a first person perspective and the direct addressing of a significant other. Everything about the song seems to have been approached from a slightly different angle, but still the end result is the same – the band offer yet another easily enjoyable bit of songwriting and organic escapism. A live show from GREYE this year will bring an evening of impressive eclecticism, with endless passion and musical skill.
As you approach the end of the collection, Changes brings back the quickness, a sort of John Butler Trio vibe with added layers of attitude and a perhaps more accessible, pop or mainstream subject matter. The wider thought patterns remain, provoking optimism and acceptance.
Inferno marks the final moments with superb musicianship and a precisely built, well captured performance from all involved. Bassist Joshua Reid lets his skills meander boldly here, and drummer Ray Grimard puts in yet another flawless and passionate rhythm section – perhaps his most impressive yet. The lyrics hold tight to your attention with short lines and a poetic progression that immediately makes you want to be able to sing along. The increasing pace and intensity is a running thread throughout the project and this last track throws in a mighty reminder of that.
Under the Weather as a playlist is loaded with refreshing hits, any of these songs will appear as a welcomed addition to the long term playlist as the day pours through. Be sure to check GREYE out at a live show should the opportunity arise.