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If Anything

(Carpark; US: 13 Jun 2014; UK: 16 Jun 2014)

Toronto’s Greys deliver a potent dose of furious rock on the band’s first full-length, If Anything. Immediately, on the driving speed and thick distorted layers of “Guy Picciotto”, the band throws down the gauntlet and demands us to keep up. It’s rare a band can feel both this propulsive and this heavy, but the grinding guitars and pounding drums of “Use Your Delusion” or “Adderall” sprint at a breakneck speed while still clawing deep into the turf. Other songs like “Pretty Grim” slow the pace and grind lower, but the extra rumble never makes the songs feel slow, only deliberate in their menace.

The best trick on If Anything, though, is the way the band can strip away the howling vocals and chunky guitars once in a while to show a sneaky pop sensibility behind these songs. The expansive echo of the second half of “Girl In Landscape” or the warped, spacious bridge of “Flip Yr Lid” or the more subtle mix of guitars on “Cold Soak” offer a break from the up-front fury of these songs and reveal a nuance behind all the slashing energy. It’s a welcome shift on a record that can feel too uniformly at times in its thrashing sound, but it also shows us there is much more waiting for us under the surface of If Anything, an exciting and lasting debut from a band unlikely to sit still going forward.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

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