SHUFFLER 0089: MELTED WINGS COLLECTED ON THE FLOOR
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
GREYCOATS – “Keep Us Young” from World of Tomorrow (self-released grycts.com)
Disclaimer: I have been friends with Jon Reine, Greycoats frontperson, since the second grade, which, according to some complicated math I just did ON MY FINGERTIPS, means thirty years. In high school we wrote a zine together, and currently have flimsy plans for a podcast about Minneapolis history. Maybe you have situations like this, but I have no way of knowing whether my opinion of GREYCOATS is informed by my shared history with Jon. That said, it’s not as if I’ve exactly been feigning objectivity in these last eighty-eight entries, so if you want to give me a hard time for gushing about my friend, knock it off, okay?
Oh, hubris. You’d have us throw common sense out the window, flying with wax wings into a ball of fire, attempting to stop time, and – oh, the irony! – destroy our very selves in the very process of venerating our very precious selves.
Such is the substance of this dreamy rocker from Minneapolis’ own GREYCOATS (and here, for the second entry in a row, I stretch the definitions of geography and nomenclature, knowing full well that at least half of these dudes live across the river in Saint Paul).
Do you remember years ago when you’d run into some acquaintance in the video store (remember video stores?) and he’d talk too loud about his new band and how they sounded like Radiohead? And remember how that kept happening, and remember how none of those bands sounded even remotely like Radiohead? Well, first of all, GREYCOATS aren’t one of those bands, and nobody goes to the video store anymore, and they don’t sound like Radiohead either, except for this one guitar part that sounds like it would be right at home on OK Computer.
And maybe that’s a good place to start. Consider the sonic landscape of that record coupled with Thom Yorke‘s vocal lines, say in a song like “Climbing Up the Walls,” the narrative arc, the crescendo, and you’re in the right neighborhood.
Except that’s kind of boring and annoying, and half-suggests that “Keep Us Young” is somehow derivative, which isn’t what I mean at all, only that, you know, there are touchstones, and really, there are worse bands to be compared to.
“Keep Us Young” is a lush song on a lush record, full of synth noise and guitar effects but never really noisy, instead (and maybe this is where I gush) offering layers of sonic ideas for listeners to float around in. I don’t know, but what I do know is that when the cello comes sweeping in, I’m absolutely leveled. Over it all is Reine’s high tenor, which I’ve always found dreamy.
“Can’t keep the bodies cold forever” works here as Reine’s “nothing gold can stay” in what is at once resignation and pleading, a lamentation of time’s breakneck pace.