Friday, March 6, 2015

The Gray Company, Island Fortress, Island Home, 2015

EP Review

The Gray Company are a hard-working, always-playing Union Township quartet whose EP Island Fortress, Island Home is an eclectic mix of indie rock, soul, and maybe even something a little jazzy. It's a collection of four songs linked by themes of loss and, especially in keeping with the "Island" of the title, solitude.

Opener "Object Permanence" starts off with the sound of a thunderstorm. Vocalist Zebeeb Awalom sings of the impression left by someone she's lost as the band, highlighted by Jason Fandino's guitar, weaves around her. On "This Old House," Awalom speaks to the absent occupants of her old place as she comes to realize that she may have given up something she should have held onto.

I can kind of identify with "Morning Alarms," which again opens with the ambient sounds of a rainy street. It's the most rocking track even though it's really just Awalom lying in bed dreading the day and pining for sleep and dreams. The set takes its title from "Landlocked." "In my head I'm all alone. Island fortress, island home."

Island Fortress, Island Home is a little outside my normal rock, punk, shoegaze, surf. It took me a couple of listens before I really felt like I got it. But the EP's thematic coherence and the combination of Awalom's vocals with the work of Fandino, bassist Adrian Kabigting, and drummer Joshua Howard eventually revealed a well thought out and complex collection that includes more than its share of grooves.

You can stream / download Island Fortress, Island Home over at The Gray Company's Bandcamp page. They play this Saturday, March 7th, at the Warren American Legion for "Winter Shenanigans," which also features Joe Galuppo, Steve Kelly, our good buds in the RocknRoll HiFives, and many more.

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