Back in the late 90s and early 00s, there were three record labels that remained beacons of quality as emo slowly proliferated into the mainstream; Crank! (Mineral, Cursive), Polyvinyl (Braid, American Football) and Deep Elm (Appleseed Cast, Brandtson).
Cambridge’s Grieving come from the same school of thought, and ‘Demonstrations’ is filled with knowing nods to a time when you didn’t need to have silly hair or bad tattoos to talk about your feelings. Yet for all the nostalgic feelings thrown up by ‘Demonstrations’, it’s sufficiently current as to eschew accusations of being a sentimental love-in.
Take the charged ‘Ownership’, for example. There’s a clear comparison to be made with Cross My Heart’s banner anthem ‘Tonight, We’ll Light Ourselves On Fire’, yet the brooding menace and pleading questions add drama and tension to an already heady mix of stabbing guitars and sorrowful vocals.
Elsewhere, the driven ‘No Sleep’ is the sort of indie-rock I’d relentlessly hunt for in my teenage years. Smart, literate and knowing, its music that still sounds great to me 15 years down the line. In 15 years’ time, I’d argue ‘No Sleep’ will still sound as vital as it does now.
Only 5 songs long, ‘Demonstrations’ doesn’t really put a foot wrong. Well judged, perfectly-played, nuanced and well-paced, it is proof that intense and passionate indie-rock will always shine. And, in ‘My Friend, The Ghost’ Grieving have delivered one of the best songs you could wish to hear all year…
’Demonstrations’ EP by Grieving is out now.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)