Great instrumental duo The Sea Shall Not Have Them played a wonderfully measured and stately set at this year’s Sonic Masala Fest a couple of weeks back. Since releasing great debut album Mouth a few years ago (I put on their Brisbane launch), they have supported the likes of Om and Russian Circles, while also releasing download-only two-song epic Walking Through Walls. But this post isn’t really about these lovely chaps, but about a band that guitarist Curt Emerton turned me onto – fellow Gold Coast duo Greys. Now there are a number of bands out there that have taken that name on as their own – in fact we have spoken about the Canadian version in the past – but with the release of this Greys’ album Lyre, I now have a new favourite.
The first track to really grab me (and it still slays) was ‘Holy War’ – an incredible maelstrom of emotion, squalling guitar and vocal integrity, reminding me of fellow GC band from the 90s and early 00s, Gaslight Radio – it’s stunning, a homage that didn’t have me clutching for those older classics but rather keen to hear what else Greys had to offer. And procure the goods they do – the slow oscillating melancholy of ‘Data Meta Theta’; the melted pastoral psych drift of ‘SS’ (somewhere in the slipstream of a dreamier Unknown Mortal Orchestra and The Beta Band – and Emerton pops up on guitar); the slow burn ephemera that coalesces into lo-fi solar flare that is the impressive ‘The Golden Years’; the fractured articulate rock of ‘El Eternauta’ that cascades in sparks and cymbal fire; the hushed fadeout of ‘Apollo 8’ with its hushed instrumentation and sampled vocals… Lyre is the kind of album that would have been taking the dark horse route on Triple J back when I used to listen to it (says the old curmudgeon…) – loud, emotive, a little experimental, a little weird, filled with epic swells and euphoric catharsis. Let’s hope we hear a lot more from these talented guys this year and beyond.
Lyre is out through Strange Yonder later this year – get on this.