Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Written by: TL on 07/03/2017 13:12:01
Over the past six months or so, Irish brother/sister duo Greywind has manifested as a hot new name being mentioned frequently in British music media, leading up to the recent release of their debut album "Afterthoughts". It's almost a shame they didn't appear ten years ago, however, because their sound is an updated version of something that would've been perfect for music channel video charts, or for the Twilight soundtracks, as in essence, it's like imagining Evanescence playing Paramore's "Decode" ten times in a row. And with that here's an apology in advance, because what's to come might not read unequivocally flattering, despite the fact that "Afterthoughts" is actually quite a good record.
You see "Afterthoughts" is absolutely not an album for critics. It's for the young, merch-buying, skipping-school-and-queueing-outside-venues-all-day audience. It's formulaic as all hell, and it can make a high horse reviewer consider writing it off as a repetitive bastardization of The Cranberries' "Zombie" and T.A.T.u.'s "All The Things She Said". The siblings Paul and Steph O'Sullivan, on guitar and vox respectively, definitely take the listener on a guided tour through their single factory, and yet, while internal alarms are flashing as you listen, each successive track holds things together in a way where you ultimately just have to nod and go "yep, this is not so bad, the band is going to be big".
It boils down to an expert implementation of trusty, darkened arena rock techniques, and to the unmistakable star quality of Steph's vocals. Mastering both the sweetened and vulnerable, as well as high-pitched, determined, rebellious sneers, the frontwoman consistently raises the ceiling of the tracks, making sure that each has a leap to make that rewards the listener simply and efficiently. And in fact, there's so much single quality on the album, that picking highlights could be done by throwing darts blindfolded at the tracklist. But one suggestion could be to start with "Safe Haven" and "Stitch On My Wings", two of the softer tracks on offer, where you get really get to hear Steph fold out her melodramatic tones over weeping scales and reverberating chords.
Tracks of note that hold up the other end of the band's - admittedly pretty narrow - spectrum, include "Forest Ablaze" and "Car Spin", where the themes are more destructive and the guitars have a heavier, rumbling presence. But then "Afterthoughts" is also pretty good, "Circle" has a devilishly infectious refrain that sticks to the mind, "The Lake" has a bridge alt kids will likely howl back at the band zealously at shows, and the verse of "In Autumn" has some siren-like captivating lines from Steph.
So you get the picture: The songs here are rock solid - surprisingly so for a debuting band - their main problem is simply a distinct lack of diversity. If it weren't for the strong, melodious refrains and Steph's charisma as a vocalist, one would very quickly grow annoyed for instance, with the almost constant, down-tempo, arena ballad drum-beat. Yet while you notice the room for improvement, the album's 39 minutes actually fly by quite enjoyably, enough so to consider nights of towering over jittery youth's, should opportunities for catching the band live arise. Long story short, for a duo that's been swept up by the established music industry machine very early in their career, Paul and Steph land surprisingly convincingly on their feet. One only hopes the gaps in their soundscape will be filled at least as gracefully - perhaps even a bit more creatively - by producers and session musicians they might work with on future records.
Download: Stitch On My Wings, Safe Haven, Car Spin
For The Fans Of: Pvris, Evanescence, Icon For Hire
Release date 27.01.2017