Saturday, 6 January 2018

Album: The Grey Merchant - Avenue De Rennes

The Grey Merchant Avenue De Rennes

Info: The debut album from Cork alternative rock act The Grey Merchant, Avenue De Rennes, dropped a couple of weeks ago, and it is one we have been anticipating very much having covered singles such as 'The Last Transmission', 'Spotless (The Protecting Veil)' and 'Convenience' in 2017. 

Beginning as a recording collaborative, the album was recorded over the preceding year or more in various kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms around Cork City. Mixed at Whitewell Studios in Cork, and the newly opened Whitewell Berlin, the result is a raw-sounding exploration of guitar-driven rock. A three-piece band has emerged from the project with live dates to follow in the in 2018.

Released early last year, opener 'The Last Transmission' is probably the track that will help you decide whether you are going to enjoy the entire LP as much as I did. In my earlier review I noted; "Thunderous drumming, swarming guitar riffs and moments of euphoric elevation all create a wondrous atmosphere that is a delight to soak up. At times recalling Therapy? and at others the grittier rock moments of early The Frames (think 'God Bless Mom')". 

'Convenience' continues that nostalgic alt-rock feel, retaining a heavy rock sound with blustering vocal and interspersed with spoken samples that, along with the fast-paced percussion, remind you slightly of Public Service Broadcasting. 'Egyptian Plover' carries through that break-neck tempo in an arresting and manic fashiong as the album starts to gather steam, musically I hear little strands of Jimmy Eat World, raucous carry on from the Cork trio.

Calm, 'Into The West' is the eye of Avenue De Rennes' storm, an atmospheric and celestial surprise, it feels like the band themselves have entered a trance-like state, suspended in time. A clatter and smash return on the album's title-track, all across this collection I am loving the drumming, in your face snare pounding, the harmonic vocal interplay is also a nice shift at this point. 

"This machine just called me an asshole!" opens 'A.L.P.H.A.B.E.T. Soup', I love this track, it's littered with 70's glam and prog-rock influences and a tinge of 90's grunge, this could and should be a call-to-action live audience favourite. One of my favourite singles from The Grey Merchant was last year's 'Spotless (The Protecting Veil)', the song title itself conjuring up a certain hidden mystique. Whilst not sounding in any way like either, it greatly appeals to my inner Mogwai and God Is An Astronaut fandom, I think the band excel at instrumental pieces and it's a nice addition to their bow.

Following the soft balladry of 'The Exchange', TGM wave us goodbye with 'Never Give Up, Anything Is Possible', it's quite an emotive moment on the album. Mashing up their dual propensity for calm and energetic spurts, The Grey Merchant serve up a fine closing chapter to Avenue De Rennes.

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The Grey Merchant Avenue De Rennes Album

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