Having a rather greedy appetite for discord in our musical preferences ensured that the I Am Material EP from UK band H. Grimace made an immediate good impression with its healthy dosage of that flavoursome ingredient. The added bonus of psyche bred melodies, vocals delivered with a low key energy, and a mosaic of sonic colour and spices only increased the impressive lure of the six-track thrill. It is not without lulls, rather than flaws, in its striking persuasion but ultimately the Londoners newest proposition is one seriously exciting and refreshing proposition.
A band strongly on the lips of the capital’s emergent punk/ DIY since forming in 2011, H. Grimace is the brainchild of Hannah Gledhill and Asher Preston who met whilst working at an East end bakery. Taking a mutual love for 70’s surf / post punk and 90’s dissonant guitar bands into their own ideas, the pair brought the band to life, subsequently increasing its line-up last year with the addition of Syed Shan Pasha and Marcus P. Browne. May 2014 saw the acclaimed release of the band’s self-titled vinyl EP which followed a split release with Joey Fourr the previous year on Bad Paintings. Now the band increase their presence and reputation with I Am Material, a release refusing to be pinned down with tags and revelling in offering something new.
Ears are pricked and lips licked as soon as the opening Caped Crusader like bassline in Imogen nestles provocatively in the imagination. The first track swiftly backs its initial tempting with a reserved jangle of guitar and similarly fuelled vocals. It is a vibrantly dour start which simply captivates body and emotions with sublime ease. Small crescendos of energy and passion erupt throughout the otherwise single minded gait of the song, raising the temperature and adventure of the mouth-watering encounter as potently as the flames of surf rock enterprise which spices up the infectious incitement. As mentioned earlier, H. Grimace’s sound is hard to pin down but certainly a seventies/eighties post punk/ melodic punk feel is a loud whisper as the track reminds of The Passions and at times The Mo-Dettes.
The outstanding start is surpassed straight away by the following Royal Hush. As its predecessor, the riveting song puts down the groundwork to seducing the passions instantly, this time with rolling almost tribal rhythms courting a melodic coaxing of guitar. The laid back bass mumble adds to the drama whilst the bewitching vocals of Gledhill bring only greater bait for ears and appetite to devour greedily. The Au-Pairs is a comparison the song brings yet as the first, it is spinning a web of ingenious originality and sonic persuasion which flirts with various decades of indie/punk exploration. There is also a melancholic restraint to its energy and emotion but the outstanding song still revels in a tempest of expression and intensity, going through the gears as it brings its brooding rock ‘n’ roll to a fiery climax.
To The Shaggerston cannot quite match its predecessor but still sends a stomp of raw energy and punk seeded devilry through ears. That ever present scent of discord is brighter and louder in the third song, teasing and spicing up the sultry surf rock melodies which whisper and eventually croon evocatively over the senses. More a smoulder than a blaze in comparison to the first two tracks, it immerses the listener in an intoxicating climate of sound and enterprise which is emulated again by the more pop spawned shuffle of Immaterial Girl. A Gang of Four like bass coaxing and post punk guitar endeavour embrace the again gripping vocals, the song breezing along with an inescapable magnetism which simply lights up body and emotions.
I Am Material is brought to a close by firstly the sobering charm of Great Divide and lastly by the thick humidity of Wasted Sun. The first of the two, as the previous track, is a slower persuasion but with a volatile atmosphere and nature which perpetually intrigues and has the imagination bound from its first sonic flame. Like a desert sun, the song is slightly oppressive in its heady climate but simultaneously is a contagious seduction which like earlier tracks makes a lingering conquest. The closing encounter is a boldly simmering slice of discord sculpted balladry with great raw harmonies and melodic jangles. The least successful of the six but still a mesmeric persuasion it beings the EP to a potent conclusion.
There are not many bands emerging these days which truly have bred a new and unique proposal for ears and thoughts to contemplate let alone bask in, but H. Grimace is to the fore of those successful applicants. I Am Material EP is a must for discord embraced sounds and something really rather fresh.
The I Am Material EP is available now via Soft Power Records as a Ltd Ed Cassette (100 Standard Pale Grey / 50 Yellow—tour exclusive) @ http://softpowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/i-am-material and digitally on iTunes etc.
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