By Alessandro Improta
Though they have been around for over two years now, Grey Glass has been reborn on their new EP, Colorblind. They’ve left behind their more acoustic, occasionally folk/pop sound, trading it for a more alternative sound with distorted guitars and some post-rock elements throughout. The songwriting is still somewhat similar to their previous work, but their execution is completely different. For me, this is a welcome change. As much as I enjoyed their self-titled EP, Colorblind is the result of maturing musicians making work up to par with their abilities. Truthfully, this is one of the better releases I have reviewed in the nine months I have been doing this.
One thing you will quickly notice about Grey Glass is that they have fantastic guitar parts. It takes all of 30 seconds to figure that out. The way the guitar and keyboard tracks complement each other in the verses of the title track, “Colorblind,” is brilliant. Honestly, this song as a whole is brilliant. Such a solid opener. Lyrically, it’s interesting as it asks poignant questions in the chorus: “Where do we go when it all falls down? Where do I run when I can’t save myself?” Obviously the part writing is fantastic. Even the structure of the song is great. At about 3:48, the song starts to come off its hinges as there is a tempo change, a time signature change (into 5/8 which is really interesting), and a fuzzy lead guitar part that is a completely new sound in the song and comes out of nowhere. Even bass takes lead for a little bit. It’s masterful.
“O.C.D.” is a great song as well. It is high energy and fun, but I didn’t want to highlight it in this review. However, there are a couple things in this song that, to me, encapsulate what makes Grey Glass so great and I couldn’t help myself but geek out about it. Let’s just discuss the song from 1:33 – 2:25. It starts with a fuzz effected bass and drums playing through 8 measures with a slight break at the end of that 4th measure. This break serves two purposes besides being interesting: it allows for the rest of the band to come in with vocals, and it foreshadows what is about to happen. Again the band goes through the same progression but cuts out a beat into the 4th measure leaving vocals bare, and allowing the band to come in a bit bigger. So far, in two transitional points in the progression, they have successfully used silence to transition and build energy. Let’s continue. Again, the band repeats and at the the same point in the progression, in need of a transition, they throw in a synth riff with a sound distinct enough that it catches the listener’s ear. This attention to detail is what separates their work from a lot of local releases. It would be so easy to pick a transition and run with that all three times, but instead they make each one a bit different to keep it interesting. Well done. When the chorus comes along after this section, it has one of my favorite sounds on the album. Making up the harmonic bed are big guitar chords being bent with a whammy bar, and some kind of electronic organ sound. Together with the drums going into a half time groove, this creates a sudden, ethereal feel that fits as a perfect juxtaposition to the verses. The rest of this song is fun, and again it falls into a jam at the end of the song, but just listening to those 52 seconds is enough to understand why Grey Glass is great.
One thing Grey Glass does fantastically on this release is their selection in tone. Not only is their tone great, but they use different tones to introduce different parts. For example, they have clearly worked hard to make sure that their guitar sounds are complementary, but not similar enough that they cannot be distinguished. The bass tone is phenomenal throughout, and it often switches from clean fat sound to a distorted/effected sound for effect. Their synthesizer use is the most obvious example of this thoughtful texturing. Synth voices are switched all the time. A voice will even be used just once in a song for a measure or two just for one specific riff. Again, this comes from attention to detail and an understanding of production. The production on this release does not make it sound like a local release. I could add these songs on a playlist with any huge artist out there, and nobody would know it was a local band just by listening to it. Chris Burton at Pleasant Pictures Studios and Al Deans at Pulsar Audio deserve some credit for their work on this album.
In every category – songwriting, creativity, performance, and production – Grey Glass’ latest release is a step above many of their peers. I genuinely have no critique for this release. I simply come away from reviewing it a bigger fan than I already was, excited for Grey Glass’ future.
Make sure to like Grey Glass on Facebook and listen to Colorblind on Spotify below.