This is one of those bands I heard about by chance and, after listening through this album, find myself wondering why they aren’t more popular then they are. There’s no lack of talent here, and while there is something to be said for incorporating more complexity and/or originality, it’s a notable beginning for a band to have.
Genre: Alternative Rock
Length: ~39 min.
From Killarney Ireland, Greywind was formed by siblings Steph and Paul O’Sullivan and have supported bands like You Me At Six and The Coronas. They first gained popularity after recording a demo of Afterthoughts and releasing it online. After a rush of industry interest, they spend three weeks in Texas to recording this album at Sonic Ranch Studios with producer Jason Perry.
There’s something very cinematic to this album. Part of that comes from the palpable emotion in the songs but I think it has more to do with the payoff that comes with each song. Greywind rarely introduces a song’s meaning or theme without the song progressing into something that feels like it truly embodies what they wanted to communicate. Honestly, for a debut album its far more impressive than I was expecting it to be. It’s the kind of thing I only expect when a band/musician has spent more time writing music. Then again, perhaps they’ve been working on their skills for some time before this album was recorded.
The haunting beauty of Circle always leaves me in awe, even after I’d heard it multiple times. There’s something in the cry of Steph singing “I don’t know why” that gets to something inside me. The instrumental moments are incredibly melancholy and pretty at the same time–which has always been a favourite aesthetic of mine.
I think it goes without saying that the vocals from Steph are incredible. There’s so much power in them and an emotional hook that instantly got my attention on listening to this album. There’s so much power behind it and yet there are still moments, especially near the end of the album, when she is able to sound fragile too. Sometimes it does sound a little bit more like a shout on the higher notes then I would like but that’s more of a stylistic choice than technique–I haven’t heard anything on the album to suggest that it wouldn’t be intentional.
It seems like a bit of a nit-picky thing to point out, especially with a debut album, so I’m not all that disappointed with it but I would have liked a “wow” moment. Whether that was just a profound lyric, unexpected instrumentation, or really just anything that marked this band out as something new. It’s easy to hear the influences for this band–and I don’t mean that in a bad way–and there’s nothing wrong with the sound they’ve chosen. However, it would have been nice to see them take it a step further.
Again, this is a debut album so it’s not entirely fair to expect something like that from a new band but it will be interesting to see what they do with later releases.
Favourite Track: Stitch On My Wings
I think what first drew me to this track was that it was far more delicate then anything else I had heard on the album up to that point. I was actually a bit worried that this would be a band that only knew how to go all in all the time but instead I was greeted with a song that builds and shows off the control this band has over its sound. It helps that it’s a gorgeous song too.
I love this push-and-pull that happens in the first chorus were the song builds in intensity only to drop back down. This goes for both the instrumentation and the vocals. The emotion in this song, even compared to the rest of the album, is so powerful that I’m always drawn to this song whenever I listen through.
Even after it has built up to this chaotic sound, it ends just as breakable as it started.
I honestly wasn’t expecting much when I first came to this album and yet I was extremely impressed with what I got. It’s always more difficult to write about albums I found myself enjoying a lot because it usually comes down to “I just liked it”. I did my best to isolate what I was listening to and pin-down what exactly I was drawn to in any given song but really, I just liked it. There was so much emotion and chaos, and yet it never felt like it lost its direction.