Release Date: Jun 17, 2014
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
If Anything, the debut album from Toronto quartet Greys, is a remarkably assured, resolutely compelling thirty-five minutes of sharply-angled punk rock. Built with nervy precision from a churning, agile rhythm section and a twinned sheet of guitars that variably roars, tangles, and laces with the exactness of a fine-tipped pen, Greys manage the difficult task of breathing ecstatic life into a three-decade record collection worth of hardcore, post-punk, emo, and art rock while sounding utterly vital. Greys offer an album steeped in punk modernism and retro-futurism that somehow avoids all the mustiness and stale air of the museum.
Start your album with a track called Guy Picciotto and you're bound to get Fugazi and Rites of Spring comparisons. Toronto's Greys do offer up a hard-charging, clear-visioned slab of post-hardcore with hooky anthemic vocals on their debut album, but they complement it with grunge sludge, progressive songwriting and churning noise. They make your average punk band sound incredibly lazy.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Apologies in advance, but this review will necessarily include a few uses of the N word. I wasn't a fan of Nirvana at school, though most of my friends were and I was exactly their target audience. Unfortunately I was a contrary little shite back then so while everyone else was serving servants I was hailing Select magazine's decision to award album of the year for 1993 to the Boo Radleys' Giant Steps.
“I wish I could be someone else and just go,” Greys frontman Shehzzad Jiwani screams during “Use Your Delusion”. He also, in this order, wishes he was born in New York, born in LA, and/or born into the Royal Family. To top it off, he also wishes he could play the guitar, even though it sounds as though he has a handle on at least that much. In other words, Jiwani wants out.
After three solidly built EPs, Canadian post-punk quartet Greys deliver their blistering full-length debut If Anything. With a lead track named after Fugazi and Rites of Spring leader Guy Picciotto, it's apparent where this band's allegiances lie, but amid the post-hardcore aggression are elements of noise rock, classic punk, and even grunge. A self-described "loud rock band from Toronto," Greys indeed have plenty of volume and heaps of attitude as they bash their way through tough grooves ("Use Your Delusion"), frenetic bursts ("Adderall"), and wry punk romps ("Chick Singer").
Any band that names a song after Fugazi guitarist Guy Picciotto is wearing its punk patches with pride. Greys erupted from the same Toronto noise scene as Metz, and they’ve learned well if the serrated, slurring ‘Pretty Grim’ and the severe stop-start of ‘Use Your Delusion’ are anything to go by. Elsewhere they borrow Fidlar’s pent-up goofiness and, on ‘Chick Singer’, attempt to steer it into a parody of regressive attitudes to female musicians.
Toronto’s Greys deliver a potent dose of furious rock on the band’s first full-length, If Anything. Immediately, on the driving speed and thick distorted layers of “Guy Picciotto”, the band throws down the gauntlet and demands us to keep up. It’s rare a band can feel both this propulsive and this heavy, but the grinding guitars and pounding drums of “Use Your Delusion” or “Adderall” sprint at a breakneck speed while still clawing deep into the turf.
Opening paragraph introducing the theme of the review: More bands should give their songs honest, descriptive titles like Lull, as Toronto rockers Greys chose to with their album closer. You know the kind of thing – Our Last Hit Single’s Structure With A Slightly Different Tune, Three Riffs Too Many, Our Bassist Insisted We Use One Of His Songs, perhaps. It would save reviewers, and readers, an awful lot of time.