Having played with such chart-bothering stars as Slaves, as well as underground heroes Heck, Gravves have made quite a name for themselves in the live setting. Their debut release, ‘Rattle’, shows how they fit in with both of those crowds.
Priding themselves in dirty noise, they certainly take influence from such subversive genres as no-wave and drone. However, upon listening to ‘Rattle’, one realises that this is merely an aesthetic, and that many aspects of Gravves’ songwriting are fairly standard.
This isn’t a knock on Gravves – the successful combination of all these tropes is nothing to be sniffed at, and makes for an enticing release.
The opening track, ‘My Pet Rihanna’ is the most overtly loud track on the EP, its chorus a wall of distortion and barely legible shouting and screaming. It gets the EP off to an explosive start, but doesn’t necessarily set a precedent.
There’s a big grunge influence on ‘Heartbeats’, which incorporates more elements of melody than the previous track, as well as droning guitar tones. Its chorus is also more full-bodied than the band’s noisy nature might initially suggest.
Lead single ‘Tribes’ is the weak link here. It’s an ambitious track but doesn’t fully commit to either ferocity or melody, which is a hindrance.
The drony, ethereal guitar work present in ’Heartbeats’ is more fully developed on ‘Hollow Bones’, with it being a decidedly more mellow track. This pays off, though, and ‘Heartbeats’ is a satisfying finish despite it moving away from what ‘My Pet Rihanna’ had initially suggested.
‘Rattle’ is a fun and interesting release from a young band, but the changes in style and throwing about of ideas make it feel at times messy and unfocused. This is frustrating but not too much of a concern for a band this young – there’s still plenty of time for Gravves to develop their own, consistent style.
‘Rattle’ EP by Gravves is released on 10th February on Loner Noise Records.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)