WARNING - Longevity ahead
The Grates - Gravity Won't Get You High
Every time I go to a festival I undergo a massive background check. I search out material from bands I’m unfamiliar with and go over the bands I do know. That way I know exactly what I want to see on the day and reduce the chances of missing awesome bands that I’m yet to hear of (Big Day Out 2004!!). It’s actually a rather efficient way of getting to know a lot of new bands. In preparation for the first Come Together festival, an impressive collection of underground Aussie bands, one of the first bands to go under the microscope was the little known band, The Grates. Going by what I’d heard on the radio and what was available on their site, I came to the conclusion they were some whiney little band, not worth my time, largely due to the song Sukkafish, which I found unbearable.
A good while later, namely about a month ago the song, 19 20 20, was featured heavily on JJJ. I actually thought this song was not bad, but it only brought back negative memories, so I wasn’t about to change my mind. Then the praises began raining in. First my brother and then a friend, both of whom I respected greatly their tastes in music. It seemed I had no choice but to go out, get their album and judge it for myself. I’m glad I did.
This album is simply bursting with energy. The atmosphere is built right from the start with a quirky introduction. After this we are treated with Lies are Much More Fun one of the most diverse tracks on the album. Speaking of diversity, this album delivers in spades. The songs range from complex, single-worthy pieces to a variety of simpler, more straightforward songs. These latter songs are what I would call ‘niche’ songs - more experimentation in a particular sound than a fully-fledged song. They may seem ordinary when examined on their own but they actually serve the album quite well. I think this is why I like it so much, each song has different sound making it an overall well-rounded album.
The standout song in my opinion is Science is Golden, this is where Patience’s vocal style (more on her later) really shines. Most of the other songs just blend together in my mind, though this is in a good way. Believe it or not, I’ve even come to like Sukkafish; it really has to be heard in context, that is, the album as a whole. The only criticism I could give is that sometimes the lines are pushed a bit too hard. Occasionally repetition is taken just a bit further than I’m comfortable with, especially in the ‘niche’ songs. Being gimmicky, I think they could have done with a bit of cutting room treatment, to keep them short and sweet. But then that’s just my opinion.
What The Grates are best known for are they’re ‘fun’ live shows, mainly thanks to Patience. Stories of her jumping around and interacting with the crowd are told far and wide. A combination of this reputation and the energy I can feel in the album give me a strong desire to see them live. Unfortunately by the time I got into them, the only nearby gigs were supporting the Arctic Monkeys, and as you can imagine, these were LONG gone.
The Grates are a completely unique band and Gravity Won’t Get You High definitely proves this. While it isn’t perfect and may make you cringe occasionally, there’s enough creativity here to make it a worthy addition to any record collection.
WARNING - Longevity ahead