Greys Warm Shadow

CAK119

Oct 5th, 2016

Warm Shadow is a companion piece to Greys’ acclaimed sophomore album, Outer Heaven, comprised of original material as well as elements from that album’s recording sessions at Hotel 2 Tango in Montreal. Penning new songs, manipulating tape drones created from various studio experiments and rearranging old favourites, Warm Shadow‘s intent is to create a parallel world which illuminates the dynamic contrasts that reside on Outer Heaven and within Greys themselves.

Where Outer Heaven‘s focus was more broad both musically and lyrically, tackling topics like xenophobia and mental health issues within an expansive sonic landscape, Warm Shadow is far more insular. Frontman Shehzaad Jiwani explores both the personal and the abstract, with lyrics about Jiwani’s spiritual connection to his grandmother who passed before he was born (“Minus Time”) to his vision of a dystopian future inspired by institutional oppression (“Fresh Hell”). Grandiose soundscapes the band previously wandered are replaced with subtly textured, lo-fi experimentalism by way of Broadcast (“Trish K”) or the tense minimalism of mid-period Sonic Youth (“Space Mountain”).

Warm Shadow occupies a space between larger statements that fills in the broader strokes Greys have painted in the past. Like AmnesiacWeird Era Continued, or untitled. unmastered., this companion piece exists to spotlight the ethereal moments its predecessor hinted at – to be viewed not as the sum of its parts, but as an alternate universe in which the creative possibilities for a punk band in the 21st century are limitless.

Tracklisting

1. Minus Time
2. UberEats
3. I’d Hate To Be An Actress
4. Trish K
5. Fresh Hell
6. Colour Out Of Space
7. ProTech!
8. Light Pollution
9. Space Mountain
10. Outer Heaven

Audio

Other Info

PRESS CONTACTS
North America: talia@brixtonagency.com
Europe: andy@carparkrecords.com
Japan: ben@hostess.co.jp

UPCs
Cassette: 677517011937
Digital: 677517011951

PRESS ON WARM SHADOW

Stereogum
Fader
BrooklynVegan
Consequence of Sound
Bandcamp (“Fresh Hell” single premiere)

 

Press Photos

Hi-res TIFF album art:
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Photos by: Vanessa Heins
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Artist Bio

A punk band growing up is always a perilous proposition. A dicey gambit to be sure, but your Talking Heads, your Wires, your Sonic Youths and your Deerhunters were all scrappy young kids making sizeable rackets once upon a time. It was only after they decided to make poignantly observant, unexpectedly epochal rackets that they challenged and transcended the idea of what a punk band could be. This is precisely where we find Greys at the outset of their sophomore album, Outer Heaven.

The ten-song, 39-minute long player delivers on the promises the Toronto quartet made on 2015’s Repulsion EP, placing the band in more spacious environments and letting them build upon their noise rock foundation by incorporating new textures and dynamics to temper their trademark onslaught of discordance, which was already perfected on their debut record, 2014’s If Anything. Where their formative material saw them paying homage to their heroes, the new album sees Greys making a concentrated effort to realize their own sound. Whether that means employing tape drones, drum machines and synthesizers as noise-making tools on “Sorcerer,” or breaking into a three-part harmony adorned with sleigh bells in the middle of the hardcore intensity found on “In For A Penny,” these four young men prove that they are more than up for a challenge.

In a very literal way, singer/guitarist Shehzaad Jiwani has made it clear on this record that he wants his voice to be heard. Each song contains a sweet-and-sour earworm that brings his characteristically self-aware, often satirical lyrics to the forefront, and his serrated shout is almost entirely swapped for a more tuneful approach. Almost. Lyrically, his focus has sharpened, moving from inward to outward. This is best evident on first single “No Star,” wherein Jiwani addresses the aftermath of the shootings at Bataclan in Paris by declaring, “Don’t shoot/I’m not the enemy.”

“It’s difficult to feel like you have a voice in these situations when you’ve grown up in a predominantly white community and don’t identify with either side,” explains Jiwani. “On the one hand, some people are attacking anyone who looks remotely like you, but on the other hand, the people who are trying to defend you are also speaking on your behalf, taking away your voice. It’s like I had nowhere to turn because no one was listening to me, like I wasn’t able to speak for myself.”

Each song filters its subject matter through Jiwani’s wryly incisive perception of those topics, from a news story about a group of teens barbarically murdering their classmate on album opener “Cruelty,” to the advent of technological singularity on closer “My Life As A Cloud.” Elsewhere, on “Blown Out,” the frontman confronts his own mental health by painting it in the context of a relationship with a partner who doesn’t fully understand the unrelenting complexities of depression. The climax of the song sees him wailing, “I want you to see/There’s something wrong with me,” which would be a harrowing moment if it wasn’t the single catchiest song Greys have ever written.

With their intense live show documented admirably on their previous releases – and honed alongside bands like Death From Above 1979, Viet Cong, Speedy Ortiz, Cloud Nothings, Perfect Pussy and their Buzz Records brethren Dilly Dally – the four piece sought to explore their more atmospheric tendencies on Outer Heaven. Produced by longtime collaborator Mike Rocha at the hallowed Hotel 2 Tango studio in Montreal (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor), the record displays unprecedented depth and range for Greys, calling to mind groups as disparate as Sonic Youth, Swell Maps and The Swirlies without ever losing sight of what defines the band – a distinct mixture of melody and dissonance, order and chaos, volume and substance.