We will admit that from the moment they sent us physical copies of their first two EPs seven years back we have been ardent fans of Danish motorbillies Grumpynators. It was not so much appreciation of the gesture in a world of already digitally driven music promotion which had us hooked but the seriously rousing sounds those releases accosted us with. As their sound has grown and evolved we have been somewhat more demanding of their records, wanting greater surprises and adventures. So far the Copenhagen quartet had met the challenge and delivered but how about their new album due this August.
Still Alive is a forcibly invasive and manipulative beast, a boisterously stomping slab of temptation rocking and rolling with the band’s uniquely individual sound. Again it is an offering which sees the band’s music and songwriting further blossom as it embraces an even greater variety of rock to its testosterone bulging heart. The band’s rockabilly and punk instincts unite with a just as impulsive but increasingly richer palette of metal and hard rock enterprise in a flood of contagiousness which dare we say also has a healthy flush of rock pop to it at times. Devouring the ten tracks making up Still Alive reveals the organic maturation and new germination in the band’s already critically acclaimed sound courtesy of their previous full-lengths Wonderland and City Of Sin; their own loves and passions the richest fuel to their creative instincts.
In 2017 it was fair to say that Grumpynators’ previous album truly awoke the world to the band’s presence, City Of Sin an indelible stamp on their growing recognition. Building on its mighty infection soaked foundations, Still Alive pushes every aspect of the band again, the songwriting the most fertile yet matched by dexterity in sound and craft which simply demands attention. The foursome’s self-penned motorbilly has in many ways always been best described as a collision of Motorhead, Volbeat, Nekromantix and Social Distortion, the same a fair fit for Still Alive but never has their sound been as rich and broad as across the new encounter.
The evidence is swiftly unleashed as album opener and title track, accompanied by sirens marking trouble, erupts on ears. Immediately the rapier swings of drummer Per Fisker infest the body, as quickly joined by the melodic infection and riffs of guitarists Christian Nørgaard and Emil Øelund. Already the song had us bouncing with grinning eagerness, the vocals of the latter as tempting as the sounds around him. That temptation is only escalated by the string slapping of Jakob Øelund, his dexterity on double bass one of our lusts across the whole of music. Together the four unleash prime Grumpynators in a song as virulent as the pandemic we are immersed in; its hooks, swings, and sonic spirals all aiding the addictiveness.
Even as the second track seizes control of already willing limbs and vocal chords there is an open new clarity to the band’s sound, a polish of sorts but one which has not diminished the great feral and ferocity carrying character of the band’s sound, Going Away For Good epitomising that fresh trait. Its initial melodic saunter is all warm invitation, Emil’s vocals skipping alongside as beats add their energy. Then as Jakob’s lures add to the summoning, it all breaks into another fiery incitement as vigorous as it is dynamic but equally the song has a swing and radiance which just got under the skin.
Fiercer tones shape next up Blood And Bones, its hard rock breath bearing classic rock hues around that instinctive rockabilly surge which defines the band’s sound. Muscle and intensity continue to unite with adrenaline and sharp hookery as the track invades and manipulates, it all leading to choruses which are sure to draw the roar out from us all. Throughout Christian’s strings create sonic weaves borne of that diversity in the band’s sound, rock and metal aligning in melodic tempting as echoed in successor Feel The Same. Its fifties seeded contagiousness and rockabilly swing is instant exploitation of an already in place appetite for the band’s invention, its canter increasingly addictive and leading to lustier participation.
New single Dream Girl follows, it too a fusion of decades within its voracious romp, a breath of sixties pop and fifties wildness breeding its imagination and animated enterprise with hard rock nurtured rock ‘n’ roll. Brief and irresistible to body and pleasure it is matched in temptation by both Yesterday and Sweet Psycho Sister which follows. The outstanding first is thick in drama and almost dark intensity though again cored by a voracious catchiness and attitude. Melodic metal and rock traits only add to its web of intrigue and temptation, the song thick in imagination and only relishing the psychobilly tinged lining to its tapestry of sound while the second matches the suggestion of its title in deed and temptation. Wickedness exudes from every note and syllable, a temptation which is siren like in its call and slavery.
Prowling ears initially, the addiction loaded All I Want is another shadow wrapped proposal which trespasses as it arouses, punk and metal melted into the track’s rapacious rock ‘n’ roll before Monster Girl springs a sonic vivacity upon the imagination. Like an aural b-movie, it embraces everything from seventies glam rock and fifties rock ‘n’ roll to sixties pop, eighties classic rock and power pop to its motorbilly insurgence. Animation of body and vocal chords is inevitable but in truth reactions impossible to hold back throughout Still Alive.
The album ends with Back On The Road, an asphalt longing stroll if not inspired by certainly echoing the world’s restraint on artist’s live show hunger. With country and classic rock hues a bold breath in its stomp, one even more compelling as darker metal strands escape the guitars, the track is a fine captivation to end another glorious release from Grumpynators.
Greedily devouring everything from the flood of invigorating basslines, flurries of rhythmic manipulations, and webs of melodic imagination across the release, with vocals just as ridiculously potent and persuasive, Still Alive is another momentous link up with Grumpynators. Surely world domination is being teased by their esurient sounds now.
Still Alive will be released through Mighty Music as a CD, digital, and in three different vinyl formats (black, orange cloud and red/blue) on August 28th. Pre-ordering available @ https://targetshop.dk/en/grumpynators
Pete RingMaster 20/08/2020
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