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The Grates - Gravity Won't Get You High

The Grates, Gravity Won't Get You High

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

AUSTRALIA’S newest exports The Grates make no apology for making you want to bounce, such is the vibrancy of their fun guitar pop.

Songs such as the ridiculously infectious recent single 19 20 20 display a keen ear for a catchy melody that comes laced with a slightly harder edge.

Comprised of two girls and one boy – Patience Hodgson (vocals), John Patterson (guitar) and Alana Skyring (drums) – the band capably deliver high energy, no-nonsense songs that display an uncanny ability to mix PJ Harvey-style moments of gritty rock such as Feels Like Pain with the childlike exuberance of records like Nothing Sir.

What’s more, they deliver things pretty quickly with the majority of tracks clocking in under three minutes.

The Sunday Times has already praised The Grates for their ability to excel at “the short-sharp-shock approach to song-making”, while the NME predicts that they “sure as fuck will move your body”. Both are true.

Spearheaded by Hodgson’s heady, unique vocals, The Grates provide a head-rush of guitar pop mayhem that’s impossible to dislike.

Highlights include the tongue-twisting blast of energy that is Inside Outside, complete with catchy riffs, bouncing melodies and X-rated lyrics (“some motherfuckers think they’re born to dance”).

Or the stop-start riffs of Trampoline which kicks off with the line “use your bed like a trampoline” and invites you to keep getting “higher, higher”. It’s a track that pretty much embraces the band’s youthful zest and positivity.

That’s not to say they’re just about throwaway melodies – for even in the midst of their most commercially accessible indie-pop moments, there’s a hint of the strong hooks that enable the LP’s more ambitious tracks to stand out.

Among these is the banjo-laden Sukkafish, with its enticing mix of grunge-style rock and country barn dance sensibilities, and the epic final track, I Am Siam, the longest offering that draws on some different instrumentation to lend it a more expansive and mature sound. It brings the album to a richly satisfying close that hints at even greater things to come from them.

Other moments to savour include the breathless energy of Lies with its teasing chorus of “no I’ll never believe the truth in you, lies are much more fun”, impressive guitar hooks and vocal layering – drawing to a close with a trumpet fanfare and the brazen declaration “I’m going to go like this to you, la, la, la, la”.

And the teasing stop-start style of Science Is Golden, with its hand-clappy beats, sharp bursts of guitar and heady chorus.

From the playful name of the album alone (Gravity Won’t Get You High), it’s clear that The Grates are hell-bent on having some fun. The best part about it is that you will too!

Track listing:

  1. I Won’t Survive
  2. Lies
  3. 19 20 20
  4. Rock Boys
  5. Howl
  6. Trampoline
  7. Science Is Golden
  8. Feels Like Pain
  9. Nothing Sir
  10. Inside Outside
  11. Sukkafish
  12. Seek Me
  13. Little People
  14. I Am Siam
  15. Small Lives