I recently reviewed the new Brave Bird EP for this site and I was faced with the same difficulties analysing that release as I am with ‘Everything Between Paint and a Wall’. I suppose it’s testament to just how bloody good Brand New really are that it’s possible for even the untrained ear to tell that Grandview very much had them in mind when writing their songs. But the key is to use influences as the materials to create something new, rather than just building an effigy.
Grandview hail from Burlington, Massachusetts – although to hear them sing they sound more like a Long Island band. This is no bad thing but there’s nothing that audibly sets them apart from the characteristics of the likes of Saves The Day and The Movielife from a vocal point of view. The softly struck chords at the beginning of ‘Paint’ are textbook ‘Deja Entendu’, as are the whispered words, heavy with emotion, which follow.
The tracks are intelligently structured both musically and in terms of lyrical arrangement. Their harmonies are both creative and powerfully emotive. It’s very apparent however that the band are also instrumentally far smarter than they are vocally. Whilst Grandview effectively replicate Brand New in so many ways, they lack the same poetic propensity and lyrical themes are poorly developed. This is understandable in a young band though and something to work on for their next release.
The poignant palm-muted opening of ‘In Good Company’ will make you think instantly of ‘Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t’ and if that doesn’t bring Jesse Lacey to mind then the screamed vocals that sound like they’re echoing down a corridor will do the trick instead. But while the comparisons come in thick and fast, it’s unfair to say that Grandview offer nothing more than a rehash.
The hard edge that characterises their state can be heard in stabbing and driving riffs that feel a lot like something Hot Rod Circuit would create, who’s emo was always closer to the punch and bite of Boston than the softly-softly feel of New Jersey. You can also hear some real post-rock influences in there at the times the band let their guitars do the talking, particularly in the short but serene instrumental track ‘Say Nothing’.
‘Shaper’ is the strongest track on the album: a wonderfully poised slow burning number that feels much more its own boss than a lot of the other material and is a confident indicator that once Grandview stamp their authority on their sound then they will go along way. Until then, irritating but nonetheless relevant comparisons will inevitably serve to hinder their progress.
‘Everything Between Paint and a Wall’ by Grandview is out now on FITA Records.
Words by Alex Phelan (@listen_to_alex)