Grammatics - Grammatics

2017 April 10

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Here at PULP, we of course feel a certain allegiance to the musical rumblings of our own beautiful city. But just occasionally we need to bend our ears a little farther afield. In this case, we head over the Pennines and down the M62 to Leeds, home of Grammatics.

Grammatics have been slowly burning away for the last couple of years, playing and practising and honing the set of songs they kindly present to us on their debut self-titled album.

Album opener Shadow Committee starts with warm, resonant chords, followed shortly by crisp, spiky rhythm, culminating in a lovely crescendo of a chorus. Urgent, yet harmonious vocals soar over a smooth blend of chugging guitars, crashing drums and beautiful strings.

Phew. And that’s only the first track. On listening to this album, you’re struck by the sheer amount of ideas at work, with each track seemingly cycling through at least two or three quite disparate musical styles. Thank God then, that the effect is far from jarring - and actually keeps the record sounding fresh and innovative.

Upon hearing the vocals, the privileged amongst us will recognise the startlingly dynamic voice of Owen Brinley, ex-Colour of Fire - a band this writer misses hugely. How brilliant, then, that with Grammatics his voice has only improved, and the music this new band creates is so mature and well-rounded.

Clearly, those years of hard work have paid off. But amongst a collection of such fresh, exciting songs it’s the album’s centre-piece, the thrilling duo of Broken Wing and Relentless Fours that stops you dead in your tracks and gets you sat bolt upright in awe.

Broken Wing starts off with delicate, wistful-sounding cello and beautiful clean guitars, pinned together with Brinley’s voice sounding more than a little bit like Elliott Smith. And just as you feel safe and warm in Grammatics’ company, along comes one of the most gorgeously heavy bursts of sound you’re likely to hear this year, and the chorus erupts into an anthemic hymn punctuated by Brinley’s choirboy vocal chords.

Relentless Fours follows shortly after, with a delectable intro providing a slight interval at just the right point in the record’s progress. Here we are introduced to the vocals of cellist Emillia Ergin, dancing an ethereal dance with Brinley’s. The proclamation of the chorus, “Everyone loves a breakdown,” is spot-on. And it comes like a train.

There is so much to love on this album that I could spend days extolling its virtues. There’s hardly a duff note, and it just leaves me moist with anticipation for the band’s live show. This is one of the freshest-sounding records I’ve heard this year, and how wonderful it is that it has emerged out of a hard-working scene so close at hand.

Paul Capewell

Catch Grammatics at Satan’s Hollow, Saturday 18th April, with Rolo Tomassi and Pulled Apart by Horses. Also, take a look at the video for single and album opener, Shadow Committee:

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