fri 20/09/2019

CD: Grenades - Primate | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Grenades - Primate

CD: Grenades - Primate

Debut from UK punk outfit shows black wit and sonic imagination

Not Arctic Monkeys

South-coast four piece Grenades’ debut album is that most unlikely of musical outings, an ecological grunge-punk concept album. This is no wafty, feel-good affair, though, its environmental concern is akin to the eco-parable shock tactics of rough’n’ready Eighties exploitation flicks such as Cannibal Holocaust and Green Inferno. Whether the listener goes on the darkly bizarre lyrical journey or not, Primates is crammed with shout-along songs built into hefty guitar attack.

Musically, Grenades carve their own path. They emanate the down-tuned bite of Soundgarden but at a much greater velocity. Tunes such as “Abomination” feature tricksy prog riff patterns such as Mastodon might fire out, yet throughout the album there’s a raw punk urgency, even occasional terrace-chant choruses of the Angelic Upstarts variety, a touch or early Gallows. On their own, none of these comparisons do Grenades’ sound justice, for they all melt into something that is their own, with singer Django Black’s voice ripping out their strange lyrics to the fore.

The songs’ words set this band apart from those who mine similar territory. There is a constant abject horror filmic tone to them but also an apocalyptic poetry. The climatic “Rapture”, a dynamic highlight, draws all the album’s themes together (”Down by the river the animals burn/The rats and the monkeys and the humans in turn”!), but there are many other scorchers on the way, the whooping singalong “Santa Maria”, the anthemic “Everybody Needs Positive Feedback”, and the storming stop-start antics of “Babel” wherein the spirit of Pixies crashes headfirst into ’77 punk. Or how about “Grenades”, which turns 2001: A Space Odyssey into a murky riff-fest?

Even when Grenades seem to wander slightly away from their concept on the darkly grooving “El Toro”, a kind of warped cannibalistic love song, there’s still the sense of a world rotting, of damage. The contagious thing about Primate is that they make their twisted subject matter so invigorating. Ones to watch.

Below: watch the video for "Primate" by Grenades

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