'If Anything', the first full-length by Greys, is the young quartet’s own warped update of vintage post-punk; frenetic guitars running against walls of noise, held together by sharp strands of melody. Emerging from the vibrant Toronto punk scene, Greys are economical in their swift punches of noise, anchoring short bursts of mania with huge choruses. “Each song exists in its own space and represents different aspects of the things we like about noisy, dissonant music,” says singer/guitarist Shehzaad Jiwani. “But instead of being built solely around riffs, they were built with hooks in mind, too.”
The 35-minute LP pulses with a manic urgency, as drummer Braeden Craig and bassist Colin Gillespie’s syncopated rhythms punctuate guitarist Cam Graham’s smothering dissonance. Through exasperated shouts, Jiwani lets loose the fury that splits open his songwriting. “The lyrics went from outward frustration to inward,” he says. “A lot of it takes place from within my own head.” Swinging between hard-driving punk and ‘90s indie riffing, the respites on 'If Anything' only underscore Greys’ brute force and anthemic inclinations.
Written over the summer of 2013 and recorded in ten days at Toronto’s Candle Recording studio, 'If Anything' is a fulfilling aftershock of noise rock, immediately arresting and bursting with confidence
Greys are a loud rock band from Toronto. Feel like you’re up to speed? As self-appraisals go, it’s a bit sparse, but it tells you all you need to know about the band without the pretentious accoutrements. It’s short, fast, and to the point – much like their debut album, 'If Anything'.
There are plenty of other adjectives one could associate with the band: Caustic. Brash. Noisy. Abrasive. Dissonant. Melodic. Sarcastic. Explosive. It’s immediately apparent that the young quartet graduated from the School Of Noise Rock, Class Of ‘93, and their professors were guys like Reis, Denison, MacKaye and Cobain. So have many others, sure, but where Greys differentiate themselves is their economic distillation of those lessons into a funhouse mirror reflection of punk rock.
One needn’t look any further than the first two songs on 'If Anything' for clarification. The opening track and lead single, “Guy Picciotto,” kicks the album off with a cacophony of noise which quickly races into a driving sing-song that recreates the familiar-to-millions moment of life-altering inspiration and identification with idols like the titular Fugazi guitarist. Shehzaad Jiwani and Cam Graham’s guitars propel the song skyward as Jiwani yells wistfully, “There goes my hero/He plays the same guitar as me/When I see him flying right off the stage/I want to be like him every day in every way.”
The band was formed in 2011 over a mutual appreciation for huge guitars and mathy rhythms. Three EPs in as many years (2011’s Ultra Sorta, 2012’s Easy Listening and 2013’s Drift) saw them rapidly growing both as players and performers, whittling their sound down to a sharp edge over 100,000 kilometers worth of DIY shows across North America. By the time 'If Anything' was being recorded over the autumn of 2013, Greys were less interested in paying homage to those who first inspired them than carving out their own identity.
Therein lies the rub for Greys; an avid respect for their punk forebears wrestling with the bratty audacity to move beyond those paradigms. While 'If Anything' amply satisfies the primal urge one derives from the best punk rock, it also rewards multiple listens with textural curiosities, evoking more than just the noise rock staples with debts owed to Unwound, Polvo, The Swirlies and Sonic Youth. In short, it’s equal parts Jesus Lizard and Jesus And Mary Chain. This is crystallized in the band’s live show, earning them a reputation as a formidable act whose amplitude is matched only by its intensity.
NME : “20 YEARS AFTER KURT COBAIN'S DEATH, THIS TORONTO FOUR-PIECE SUMMON UP THE SPIRITS OF NIRVANA, SONIC YOUTH AND FUGAZI..”
PITCHFORK : If you've been frequently compared to Fugazi before you even drop your first full-length, it's probably a good idea to have a sense of humor about it. And so, coming off three acclaimed EPs, Toronto punk band Greys begin their upcoming Carpark debut If Anything with a 90 second blast of dissonant, bent guitars called—wait for it—"Guy Picciotto".
STAFF COMMENTSDarryl says: An amazing fresh blast of punky textured discordance that brings to mind No Age, Fugazi, Sonic Youth and Nirvana. BRING THE NOIZE!!!