Hello my pretties,
I’m back again with another wonderfully ghastly treat for you. Aren’t I kind?
As you can probably tell we have our selected favourites here at Rebel Yell, one of those being our not-so-teenage delinquents: Gutterflower. Who said hard work and persistence doesn’t pay off? Our beloveds have spent roughly a year piecing their debut EP together, from writing right up to its release last week. Being a unit compiled of songwriters and production students evidently has its benefits, as they were able to record and mix the record in their way without the unnecessary input…and most importantly avoiding forking out money they don’t have to third parties. If that’s not embodying the grunge mantra I don’t know what else will. Now I’m not saying that this is the way for everyone. I, myself, am completely incompetent with technology, it’s a miracle I can provide you with these gold nuggets…even then I spend a good half hour or so before publishing cursing at the screen trying to align photographs and text…or some other simple task. So you can only imagine how frustrated I get when it comes to mixing and sorting EQs out on tracks…to be honest I just end up making pretty patterns and colours but my assessors don’t need to know that so shhh. Therefore, for Gutterflower to completely produce this record themselves is remarkable to me! I know where I’m heading for my next project…hint hint boys.
Upon first listening, it is clear that this year of continuously working on these four tracks has paid off. It has allowed them to develop and trial these songs live, as well as perfect them in Gutterflower HQ. With tight arrangements, strong grooves and gritty vocals, our boys are doing the grunge community proud.
Kick-starting the EP is Blasphlegmy with its hooky intro and feedback demonstrating how grunge can be angry with a hint of pop…good thing I’m not seeing these boys for the next few weeks because they’re going to kill me for even thinking they have a mainstream bone in them. SORRY! Moving swiftly on, as well as be riddled with hooks, it is great to actually be able to hear Eliot’s vocals. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing these guys live, but it’s one of those situations where if you don’t know the lyrics you can’t understand what Eliot’s singing about. No matter how profound or angry or babble he’s topic choice may be. With effective harmonies and plenty of space for the vocals, Gutterflower demonstrates their ability as songwriters, writing for the songs not just for the sake of it. Which is easy for grunge bands to do – think noise, feedback, noise, ahh!
A personal favourite off the EP is Silver with a perfect balance between moody, vulnerability and angst. I’ve always said that if Kurt Cobain had a love child with Gary Moore that Gutterflower would be it. Whilst still carrying the grit from Blashlegmy they manage to dial it back slightly for a greater focus on the lyrics. We all know how obsessed I am with lyrics; despite how hard I try I cannot ignore them. There is something about Silver, with lines such as “we sit and dream away, to live inside a different ending” that captivate me. It’s one of those lines I wish was mine, as it’s perfectly crafted, intricate string of words. Don’t get me wrong, though, this isn’t a ballad or soft song, it kicks in like every great grunge song does. However, the production skills on it make a huge difference. Rather than sounding like four riff raff kids locked away ignoring the world, it sounds like an established band – leaving space for the vocals, strong grooves and fancy guitar decorations that round the tracks off wonderfully. Yet, the most iconic part of the song is it’s hauntingly beautiful outro.
Following on from this Paranoise. Pure grunge. Feedback, distortion, noise tied with a bow. Exactly what you need after Silver, with it’s simple, yet effective, lyrics. Whilst its arrangement is busy, it is not complicated or overwhelming, leaving plenty of space for the lyrics. Now Gutterflower are epic live, definitely not ones to be missed; however as with most grunge bands, I was afraid that they would lose the raw quality of their live sets in their recording. I couldn’t be more wrong. Don’t get used to me admitting I am wrong…let’s be honest I’m rarely wrong after all. The track starts energetic with a swift progression into halftime. Most bands of their level do this in a messy fashion, yet here is has been effortlessly. Combined with intricate lead guitar fills, subtle without being overbearing, and off-the-cuff Cobain style vocal lines of “no”. Nonetheless, my favourite part is the creepy ending…and we looooove creepy here. Guitar, feedback and effects used right can create just incredible results, as shown here.
Last but not least we have Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Now want to hear a really sad thing? I got very excited listening to this song…not because of how great the song is…which it is… but just because I recognised it from hearing it live. To be honest I recognise most of the others but I definitely know this one. It seems going to countless of live shows has its consequences. NO REGRETS. Again glorious storytelling packaged in a simple yet delightful arrangement, which drops and builds in all the right places.
Notably, three of the four tracks are over four minutes; yet do not bore the audience in any way. Instead, interest is maintained throughout the entire EP. I’ve needed some new music to indulge on, so we know what I will be ODing on for the next few days at least. It was difficult to choose a favourite track of the EP, so I will leave that for you decide.
Until Next Time,
– Rebel Yell