CD / DL / EP
Out Now with a remix EP out Monday 2nd September on PopCrisis
Veteren Leeds electronic musician Simon Grainger has a new ep out for our delectation. It’s packed full of potential dance hits & here we present for you “a comprehensive review for the discerning audiophile…” by catholic discipline.
It’s increasingly rare that electronic music is exciting these days. True, the likes of Holy Fuck, Fuck Buttons, Black Dice, Health et al are making noise both perfectly structured and yet still at the precipice of ramshackle disintegration. Most bands utilising electronics in the post-millennial landscape are mere copycats, or, at best, are wantonly using layers of feedback and noise and processed samples to the point where the listener is almost being punished for stepping outside of the standardised verse / chorus / verse confines.
Safe to say I was chuffed to bits to get sent a copy of Graingerboys latest EP then. A gift from the man himself, the hopes were high as I cranked up the shitty hi-fi in CATHDISCBTON HQ (aka my kitchen).
The scene was set, a grotty miserable Brighton afternoon. Coffee going cold in an oversized mug on the tabletop, cigarette drooping apathetically from my mouth. Such post-Dickensian squalor was actually the best back drop for what was murmuring from the speakers…
Kicking off with the distorted vocal and tightly coiled post punk bassline, Cheaper Than A Taxi Home soon warps itself into a mutant disco piece, industrious drums clatter and riffs peel away into the ether like splintered shards. The lyrics, twin delivered, gender represented, melt into your subconscious. I defy you not to sing the refrain until you hate your own weak will….
Trainsurfing (which appears in remixed form on the forthcoming Remix EP) is all haunting synthllines, a semi-paranoia inducing Balearic trip gone sour. The vocal track lollops above the itching, clamouring beat and strained keys, wistfully regretting and hopelessly hopeful.
Saint Etienne lend a hand, mixing the 80’s inflected Summersend, with its pounding 4 / 4 beat, elements of Chicago house and vocoded backing vocals. Grainger’s vocals are at their most fragile here, achingly beautiful and yet strong enough to make you feel that you can be the master of your own destiny. This is the sort of track made for the dancefloor, all breakdowns and rhythmic crescendo. Proving that modern dance music fans don’t need the patented Ed Banger-esque cut up basslines and drums recorded at 100000 decibels, Summersend provides a much needed refresher to dancefloor sounds.
The Simon Phipps penned Flying Solo is a clear 80’s throwback, but in the best way possible. All rhyming couplets, like a less pretentious Morrissey though still as Northern in it’s kitchen sink drama mentality. The chiming, shimmering synths married with retro, deliciously analogue drum machine hits make this track an homage to the post-disco sound of middle England. Less chintzy than standardised, homogenised 80’s pop fodder, this is a sophisticated lament, a grown up pop song essentially.
Be Forever might be the best song Depeche Mode never wrote. All attitude, swagger and late night indie disco action. This is the leather clad, girlfriend fucking, synthpop gem. It’ll kiss your girl, and then nick your chips. But it’s redeeming feature is its stainless style. A sonic DeLorean, a musical Atari 2600. You hate yourself for coveting it. But you can’t help but love it all the same.
It’s like The Human League, it’s like Depeche Mode. But it’s ultimately also like neither. It’s better.
Sounding like a mutilated Polish childrens TV theme, penultimate track Last Shop Standing carries a Neil Tennant style polished mini-novelette, awash with urban disdain and surrounded by nervous, irritable percussion and what sounds like a Mellotron emulator being fisted.
The finishing touch is the nine plus miute Jagz Kooner re-work of Vintage in all its extended edit glory. Techno meets shimmering pop. A bastard mix of the malevolent and the hi NRG gold of mid 80’s primetime pop picks.
That’s until the breakdown, all wilted synth mumbles, ominous bass and motorik beats. Shrouding you in a cloak of dark disco, goading you to dance through it.
Vintage is an ode to NYC, its subversive fringes and all the freaks unified. Makes you wish you weren’t stuck in the grim clutches of suburbia really…
All in all, this is a fucking brilliant seven tracker, reflective of its higher end position in the Zzub Charts. Get onto Graingerboy before he becomes a buzz name.
All words by catholic discipline. This is catholic discipline’s first piece of writing for Louder Than War. You can follow him on Twitter though as @CATHDISCBTON.