Pin It
On Gray Young's best and most cohesive album, the risk-taking feels more calculated and, thus, more successful.

Gray Young's Bonfire 

In January, Gray Young planned to celebrate the release of their third album, Bonfire. They'd successfully crowd funded the record and self-released the disc with enough promotional muscle to garner early praise from some national outlets. The weather had other plans, however, and the January release party was postponed because of icy roads in Raleigh.

But that feels apt: For one, the trio's carefully paced compositions often tease their way to a climactic crescendo, tying guitar and bass into tightening lines as the drums ratchet tension into an inevitable, satisfying release. Second, the band's own development hasn't been without setbacks. Its 2010 sophomore album, staysail, found the band taking stylistic risks that didn't always work. But on Bonfire, Gray Young's best and most cohesive album, the risk-taking feels more calculated and, thus, more successful.

Gray Young's 2008 debut, Firmament, set a fine foundation, taking cues from archetypal post-rockers like Mogwai and meeting them with the structure and concision of art-minded arena rockers such as U2 or Radiohead. Already, the band was mingling accessible impulses with grand compositional ambitions. But the increased prominence of vocalist Chas McKeown and more clearly punctuated guitar and bass lines on staysail diminished some of the band's atmospheric grandeur. At least it indicated an evolution in the band's inclinations.

On Bonfire, those past missteps have proven instructive. McKeown's voice isn't buried, but he lets the rush of his guitar drag across his syllables, like a wave crashing against the shore. Propelling the rhythm and complementing the melody, bassist Dan Grinder proves a steady bridge between McKeown's guitar and drummer Jeff Dopko, who pushes the song's tempo with spare cymbal flickers and burly rolls. The middle ground Gray Young once explored between Mogwai and U2 now feels stably colonized. And, after a minor setback, Gray Young seems ready to celebrate an accomplishment.

Label: (self-released)

This article appeared in print with the headline "Twin upgrades."

  • On Gray Young's best and most cohesive album, the risk-taking feels more calculated and, thus, more successful.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

More by Bryan C. Reed

Facebook Activity

Twitter Activity

Comments

Dolph Ramseur, you are so kind. Your comments made me want to cry. Well, yes, cry. Thank you for believing …

by Paula Michalak on Bombadil's Tarpits and Canyonlands reissue (Record Review)

Chemtrails are REAL and not a joke! The Government along with private industry have been testing newer and better ways …

by Barry Cohen on Spider Bags' Frozen Letter and Flesh Wounds' self-titled (Record Review)

Most Read

© 2014 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation