What’s Good for Greys is Good For the Gander
There are some albums that, for whatever reason, seem to offer very little on the first listen. Whether we labor under the illusion of heightened expectations or were simply misled as to the expected sounds we were about to hear, we write off the whole album. It’s when we occasionally give those same albums a second chance that we inadvertently realize that we can’t be too hasty in our judgments sometimes. The sophomore album by Greys, the bluntly ironic titled Easy Listening, is one such album that we’re tempted to discard. However, it’s also worthwhile to dig it out of the trash for the second listen.
At first go, it seems that Greys is serving up some of the same old, standard hardcore fare that we’ve heard over and over again. The guitars come in hard, heavy, and brash and the bass chugs along, rounding out a pretty classic sounding “fight riff.” It seems like we’re in for a long haul of heavy strumming and getting screamed at. It’s just when we’ve reached a certain breaking point that Greys let themselves off the proverbial chain and explode into jams that manage to be loose yet tasteful. Proving that it’s harder- but more rewarding- to play something simple well and for a long time (as opposed to trying to pull off something from the Michael Angelo Batio playbook), Greys prove they can jam out over the long haul yet avoid falling into overblown Phish territory. What makes their sound so successful is the impeccable sonic rapport they’ve developed, which allows them to transition between sounds with ease. On top of it all, Greys add a nice veneer in the form of their lyrics. At once self-deprecating and pointedly honest, Greys are able to slyly poke fun at all of our cute conventions while still acknowledging their own part in all of it.
Perhaps the most commendable thing about Greys is their availability. Proving true the long known secret of rock (that the album is just a way to get people to see you on tour where you make your real money), Greys have made their music free to stream and download. Inversely, for a relatively young and unknown band, they put a lot of meat in the seats and are even tackling some festivals this summer. Perhaps there’s a lesson for all aspiring acts in the Greys approach.