Review: Charades – Grey Pillar Sky EP

Hailing from the Netherlands, Charades boast a wide range of influences, with Brand New being the most obvious. Their debut EP, ‘Grey Pillar Sky’, pulls off the same combination of focused angst and clever musicianship that Brand New’s ‘Deja Entendu’ did in 2003.

This isn’t to detract from ‘Grey Pillar Sky’, as Charades are talented and inventive musicians in their own right – even if this isn’t immediately apparent. Opener ‘Undress’ is a standard pairing of math-rock riffs and shouted vocals, and ‘Skin’ has some cliché lyrics about alcohol and cigarettes. Both songs have elements that work, like the instrumental section at the end of ‘Undress’ and the bass work on ‘Skin’, but despite this come across as fairly pedestrian. Elsewhere, though, the band introduce softer and more melodic elements, which is where things get interesting.

This starts with some delicate crooning on ‘Colours’, but ‘Embers in the Cloud’ commits more fully to its laid-back nature. The vocal approach here is light and airy, devoid of the angst that we hear elsewhere on ‘Grey Pillar Sky’, and the distorted guitars, when they are eventually introduced, are used conservatively. This is a refreshing change which holds the listener’s attention at the EP’s halfway point.

Closer ‘Carpet’ brings back jagged guitarwork and angst, but pairs this the smoother vocals that Gerben Kieviet uses on earlier tracks, to great effect. ‘Carpet’ also ends on a weird, noisy, psychedelia-influenced instrumental section that’s both unexpected and enjoyable. Left-field moves like this prove Charades’ musical ambition, proving that they’re more than simply disciples of Brand New.

‘Grey Pillar Sky’ is far from a perfect release, but it incorporates a variety of interesting ideas, even if these don’t always work in practice. If nothing else, these ideas show promise if the band can develop them more fully in the future.


‘Grey Pillar Sky’ EP by Charades is out now on White Russian Records.

Charades links: Facebook|Soundcloud|Instagram

Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)


This website collects cookies to deliver better user experience. Learn more.