Greys Outer Heaven Carpark
The debut full-length from Toronto noiseniks Greys wore its influences pretty firmly on its sleeve. Guy Picciotto and the Hüsker Dü-referencing Flip Yr Lid were among the track titles on an irrepressible punk record that didn’t really do anything new, but satisfied with its viscerality. There was also, as the above influences suggest, evidence of a real melodic vein to their songwriting, albeit one often cleverly buried under the sheer weight of the volume dial.
Last year’s Repulsion EP coaxed that side of Greys out into the open a little more, suggesting that their next album would have them moving in firmer fashion towards that kind of territory. Sure enough, Outer Heaven sacrifices a little of the out-and-out energy of their debut If Anything for a touch more poise and restraint, and it sounds a more polished in production terms too. If It’s All the Same to You lurches from a bratty slouch to an explosive chorus at the midpoint, while the simmering menace of Erosion shows real signs of progression to the blunt force approach of their debut.
There are, however, clear teething pains as well. Strange World stretches the loud-quiet-loud dynamic too far – by the time it explodes violently into life, it’s already tested the listeners’ patience more than necessary – and the topsy-turvy My Life as a Cloud is an awkward note on which to close proceedings. The potential is clearly abundant in Greys, and at this rate of output, they’ll continue to get closer to realising it; Outer Heaven takes a noble stab, but doesn’t quite pull that off.