Grey Britain?
Joey Eyebank takes stock of two much hyped albums likely to add colour to our lives

Gallows- Grey Britain
After the fuelled ’Orchestra Of Wolves’ pummelled the nations ears with glorious furious noise, Gallows decided to embark on using the force of their breakneck music to accompany lyrics about the current state of the nation. So that the musicality could entwine to drill a message- with power. A good choice. And it was Gallows radical approach when talking about this upcoming political record in interviews which gave the frustrated public a sense of relief.

However, with ’Grey Britain’, whether that’s a message or frustration they're trying to deliver, you can’t really tell.

Usually the best way to deliver a message of hope or protest in music is a profound simplicity; that ‘Sex Pistols’, ‘The Clash’, ’Bob Dylan’ or ‘The Beatles’ had, but what the Gallows are trying to say is vague and doesn’t have enough power to move people in the way that punk used to. Protest music has a memorable lyric to accompany a moving tune that usually either has a thoughtful quality or an in-your-face aggressive wisdom- that resembles the majority and speaks out. Which is why it captures people.
‘Grey Britain’ however is more of a mosh-pit assault than a political assault.
And with this one seems to notice that the lyrics lack that “aggressive chanting” sound that the Gallows had on ’Orchestra Of Wolves’:

The lyrics from the song, ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’:
“and if I offer to buy you a drink, trust me when I say its non-alcoholic, you’re no good to me if you can’t even speak, I don’t want you passing out, I want you sucking my dick.”
cleverly emulated the greedy perspective of a power-hungry businessman with a great ’nursery-rhyme’ ring to them which was powerful and stuck out in peoples heads, along with the music. But on Grey Britain, lines like:
There is nothing left for me: I want to kill myself” or ’Misery fucking loves us, and we love her too” don’t have much of a memorable rhythm or impact like the fist-clenching chant in the chorus of Orchestra of Wolves.

Frank Carter then just ends up sounding frustrated and voices the opinions of the voiceless.

Although the lyrics are as vibrant as charcoal, alot of the songs are generally good punk tunes. ‘Grey Britain’ sometimes flows like a series of punches to your eardrums with a staccato impact and a raucous sound and then sometimes gives you a limp slap across the ears. The first is true for songs like ‘London Is The Reason’ which attacks you in an unnerving way and has a chorus that combines the raw ‘Black Flag’ sound with a typically Gallows riff. This is also true for the pounding ’Leeches’ and ’Graves’- two throbbing adrenaline stomps. The latter; are the unbelievably weak moments like the dire “epic”: ’The Vulture acts 1 and 2”-which lack a distinct sound and potentially could‘ve been written by any hardcore band - you can’t help but think that Gallows have not made the record that they claimed to have made.

The one thing however is that the Gallows have the passion which the music scene currently lacks, and if its passion that will deliver a message then they have succeeded,- but if they're relying on the lyrics, ‘originality’ or the ’meaning of the music’, then frankly it’s a flaccid attempt.

My feelings on this album are mixed. It won’t come out of nowhere and hit us hard; taking our heart and minds with it. - It's just being marketed as the protest record that will fulfil all the customers' needs. Gallows just have a major label to manipulate and advertise ’Grey Britain’ in a manner so that it fits to the state of the world now - but I feel that, without the endless advertising describing the way that this album will impact, the album wouldn’t have enough of a voice to do that. (same could be said for Green Day's latest pile of tosh - 2 reviews put in to one)

Musically its a great record. And thank you Gallows for having that radical passion that our sour, detol-polished souls need.

It's just not revolutionary.


[but then read this review here - Ed]


The Horrors- Primary Colours
After a mass of preconceived opinions about the future of ‘the horrors’, who then were labelled and mis-judged as simply being matchstick b-movie hipster gadfly Goths, it seems only funny that such judgements could even be associated with the magical sounds of ‘Primary Colours’.

From the sonic introduction of ’Mirrors Image’ to the acid-house arpeggios that end ’Sea Within a Sea’ this album transports you into a psychedelic whirlwind of summer rays that seem too ethereal to have been created in the 21st century. ’I Can’t Control Myself’ is an intoxicated fairground ride with a ‘Lux Interior’ esq. dark edge and the droney slurs once perfected by the ‘velvet underground’. ‘Scarlet Fields’ is like an old Chinese movie soundtrack being played to Joy Division featuring a strangled Iggy Pop but with a harsh tranquillity which then contrasts with the throttled, unnerving ’New Ice Age’, where Faris Badwan transforms into a chimed ’Johnny Rotten’.

On songs like ‘Three Decades’ and ‘Do You Remember’, what was a gangly organ is now a synth that drifts and sifts around the melodies like several sperm whales crying through megaphones. And you can’t help but let the sounds flow through you. It's a subtle divine quality that Jesus and Mary Chain once performed- but with harmonious layers of feedback, and the horrors have performed just that on this album.

Joey Eyebank