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Greys’ founding members, Mark Duckworth and Morris Lauga, have amassed almost a decade of collaboration, drawing on influences from punk and post-experimental rock. Their first album, Lyre, constructs an eight-track journey into all-consuming synth-strewn wonderment, stitching together dreamy, soulful soundscapes that reach in and demand you feel something.
An experimental journey through wonderment and darkness, Greys’ debut record Lyre is a work of pure craftsmanship, great deliberation and uninhibited chemistry.
Inspired by both musical and non-musical mediums, the Gold Coast duo have identified as including art, conspiracy, conversation, literature, noise and organic chemistry into their debut. Lyre is slathered with the best kind of melancholy; the kind of bleakness which is insightful rather than the sort that makes you want to crawl despondently into a hole somewhere. It’s an album hewed with all-consuming rich sounds, and there are great, elongated passages where the pair really allow themselves to indulge in instrumentals. At times, it demands to be listened to in absolute silence, late at night, so you can concentrate all your being on it, but then these dark moments are segue into ones of uplifting, unbridled euphoria.
The Golden Years begins with gently picked riffs that create a buzzy feeling of transcendence and an eerie, breathy French vox, crashing repeatedly into a gravelly, distorted vocalist wail, before dropping away again into sparser melodies that patter gently on your eardrums. And in Apollo 8, the infamous reading from the spaceflight mission is interplayed over a gently meandering instrumental background, with interludes of vocal overlays.
Meanwhile, SS is a journey of two halves, beginning with a whirring, whirling delve into noise experimentation and distortion, with Duckworth and Lauga revelling in the extended instrumental playtime, before slipping seamlessly in a stripped back second half in which arching vocals and strummed chords are prevalent. It’s a great instance of the consequence of all those years of ensemble spent holed up together in the studio Greys call ‘The Compound’. Theirs is a comfortable, easy pairing: the jeans and tee combo you’ll never chuck out because they always feel perfect on.
It’s not all strange drones and whines though: lead single El Eternauta has moments of classic dive bar material, even working in anthemic intervals over the distortion. Fly Near My Dear is dreamy and thoughtful, gathering build into a wall of sound. And Data Meta Theta, which long-time Greys fans will recognise as an earlier-released single, twists together beautiful, looping melodies, ushered on by Duckworth’s poignant vocals that dip into soul-felt climax at the end. And it’s dark stuff, really, when you get down to it, with lyrics like, “They switch off in droves and hordes, they bow down to fiction lords, promise and little reward,” evidence certainly that every inch of Lyre has been crafted with great deliberation.
Lyre, is out via Strange Yonder August 28.
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