Rating – 4/5
Birmingham singer-songwriter “Graywave” is fulfilling the vacancy of the emo inspired shoegaze sound that has fallen flat in recent times. Two-track EP “Growing garden” combines elements of the highest points of new wave shoegaze while making it her own at the same time. These two tracks are a great installment into what will hopefully be a new footing for solo music from England and a renewed vision for the solo shoegaze and emo stance.
Beginning with a warm and tranquil introduction, that pays a reminder to a Title Fight record mixed with elements of an eighties indie sound, “Fluid” is a progressive melting pot of modern sounds that creates an inviting and permanent atmosphere. Instead of jumping straight into the impactful wall of sound from the introduction, the track constantly constructs itself building layer after layer in each section of the track. Although five minutes may sound unnecessary for an opening track, it isn’t. Every second is utilized, creating engagement and a level of anticipation that leaves the listener wanting more from each step of the song until the track ends,. leaving a final impression shoegaze should install in the listening experience.
The production is fantastic. The balance of the reverb between the vocals and the spaced backdropped guitar is very tasteful and the warm bass cuts though adding a solid backbone to the track from the first note to the last. The drums sit at the perfect level and everything shines through in the mix. The vocal layering adds for some new world depth to the vocal melody, carting textures tastefully and thoughtfully. Although a higher pitch vocally would have been nice to hear during the introduction, this is genuinely a flawless effort of creativity and showcases ideas and potential that could propel Graywave for a voyage of fresh direction in the respected genres covered on “Growing Garden”.
The final and second track “Do You Want To” sees a discrete change in standpoint with the brisk mutation in tempo and further enhances on the groove of the track and less focus on the atmospheric sonic space. The intro leans towards an Oasis song with a true nineties British indie rock groove. However, the modern guitar effects and vocals transform the song into a well crafted modern emo track that is so easy to indulge in. The verses pay homage to a Petal record while the chorus gives a nod to Tigers Jaws later work. The slower vocal pattern over the mid-tempo instrumentation is an excellent balance and the sections transition nicely. Although this track is a little repetitive compared to the first track on the ep, it contains ingredients that any fan of modern indie and shoegaze will enjoy. Rounded off with a guitar solo and closing section that would fit on any Pearl Jam album, the EP closes so elegantly. The fact that this release only contains two tracks quite frankly the only negative comment that can be made about “Growing Garden”.
Overall “Growing Garden” does not bring too many new ideas to the table. But it does expand on ideas that were already implanted and failed to grow. The EP has shown the potential for the growth when combing the genres of shoegaze, indie, and emo and carved a new path for songwriting. A longer follow from Graywave is desired and will hopefully come later this year. “Growing Garden” is a pleasure to listen to and a friendly reminder that there is always potential to be found in sounds that have started to decay.
Review by Rob Kent