LP Review; Grayscale: “Adornment”

“Let it Rain” starts with a rapid instrumental feature that establishes the first solid groove of the album. Once the first vocals of the album are introduced, the instrumental section drops down in intensity to allow the lyrics to shine. The chorus of this selection is quite memorable, which helps to captivate the audience on their very first run-through. In the middle of the work, the band provides another instrumental feature that showcases the string section as the vocals ride over top them soon after. The band eventually falls back into the original groove in order to finish out the song. This will likely be a foreseen favorite of the album, for it is overly memorable, and it is innovative enough to stand out in the music scene.

 “Come Undone” features Patty Walters and starts with vocals from the first downbeat of the work. The vocal line glides overtop the gentle instrumentation to add instrumental variety to the album. After the introductory phrase, the band includes a small moment of instrumental relief before the vocalist enters in to drive the first verse and then eventually the chorus. The chorus of this selection, like the first song, is very memorable and makes the audience want to sing along. The second verse is sung by the featured artist, which adds musical dimension and helps to keep the audience interested and wanting more. The instrumental section provides a steady groove throughout the work, which is crucial for keeping the momentum of the song pushing forward.

“Slipping Away” starts with a single semi-tone that slowly evolves into a percussive motive that remains constant throughout the selection. The vocals enter in soon afterwards to provide a simple verse and chorus for the audience. The chorus of this work isn’t overly exciting, but the instrumental section fluctuates through a variety of timbres as well differing textures to help keep the audience interested. As the song progresses forward, it is heard that the band rides the same vibe throughout the entirety of the work, which isn’t a bad strategic because the lyrics of this selection will resonate with audience members; thus, the audience is able to focus on the lyrics, for the instrumental material isn’t overly exciting.

 “Atlantic” starts with a quicker melodic idea that incorporates the instrumental section paired with background vocals before the band switches to focus on the lead vocalist. Once the limelight switches, the instrumental material decreases in volume to allow the words to shine. As the selection pushes forward, it is apparent that this is going to be as memorable as the other tracks, which is important, for it will captivate the audience from the first hearing. Throughout the work, the percussion section provides heavy hits on the strong beats of each section to help create and maintain a progressive groove for the work. This is strong, for when the song switches back-and-forth between dynamic highs and lows, it helps to keep the song grounded. Near the end of the selection, the band drops down in instrumentation to slam back into the chorus for the ending duration of the song. This is strong for the artist, for it helps to drive home one of the more memorable passages from the album; thus, making this a foreseen favorite from the work.

 “Forever Yours” starts with an instrumental feature that is driven by an acoustic guitar. After the instrumental section establishes the atmosphere of the work, the vocalist enters in with a gentle melodic line with lyrics that match the mood. As the band moves throughout the work, the instrumental section provides chords and small melodic ideas here and there, but the majority of the instrumental material is the motive created by the acoustic guitar in the very beginning. This song brings the album to a more relaxed state, which is strong for the artist, for it gives the audience a quick breather from the upbeat music that is previous stated on the album; moreover, this becomes the acting ballad of the album, if there is to be one.

 “Beautiful Things” starts with vocals from the first down-beat of the song. The contour of the vocal line starts linear; however, as the instrumental material begins to grow in intensity, the vocals shift to relate to the instrumental part. The verses of this selection tend to lean towards the more relaxed nature of the band, but the band provides the listeners with a strong chorus that catches them off guard in the best way. The instrumental material for this selection remains static throughout the work, which is strong for the song because it provides a level of symmetry to the track. Near the end of the work, the band includes small hits in the instrumental section to add musical variety and to help keep the audience intrigued. The end of this piece melts down to practically nothing until it slightly grows to officially finish the track.

 “Mum” starts with an upbeat guitar motive that catches the audience’s attention from the first down-beat of the selection. The band quickly establishes a new groove through this song by providing quicker instrumental phrases paired with heightened vocal lines. The tone of the vocal line in this work has a bit more edge to it compared to the other tracks, which helps to add color and variety to the album. The instrumental material seems to play off the vocal line, which is a nifty interaction for the band to include. As the song progresses forward, the band toys with the shifting of dynamics and instrumentation to help give this quick selection a plethora of dimension. This is a foreseen favorite of the album, for it is completely different than every other track placed on the album.

 “Fever Dream” starts with a small instrumental interlude that features the string section with faint patters in the percussion section. The groove that this instrumental material establishes focuses on the two strong beats with smaller beats falling in the background. This tactic helps to create a groove that is musically interesting and completely different from all the other material presented on the album. Similar to previous tracks, the verses utilize a relaxed vibe throughout the ensemble; however, the chorus of the selection comes in swinging. This is a nice touch to the album, for it adds musical layers within individual works, which helps to make this album stand out among the crowd of similar artists in the scene.

 “Echoes (Carry On)” starts with an instrumental feature that places focus on repetitive symmetrical rhythms throughout the ensemble. When the vocals enter, the instrumental section continues with the same motivic material to establish an ornate groove, which provides a nice color addition to the album. The vocal line throughout the verses remains rather fixed in terms of range; however, as the band crescendos within each phrase, the vocals begin to expand to match the heightened nature of the work. In the middle of the selection, the band includes a small instrumental interlude that includes the same motive as before as well as faint bell tones to add textural variety. After this passage, the band falls back into the original groove of the work to ride to the end.

 “Slept” starts with a single passage played by an acoustic guitar. This passage waivers above and below a single pitch and is ornamented as it morphs throughout the work. When the vocalist enters, he provides a gentle melodic line that glides on top of the instrumental material. During the chorus, the vocals split to provide harmony to the audience; however, during this split, the band also includes two different vocal timbres, which adds dimension to the solemn piece. Once the band moves to the second verse as well as the second run of the chorus, the percussion section joins in to increase the momentum of the already stated groove. In the middle of the piece, the band includes a faint guitar solo that remains almost until the end of the selection, for it hands the melody back to the acoustic guitar at the very end.

 “If I Ever See You Again” starts with a rapid-moving strings feature with block chords filling up the background behind it. Soon after that motive is created, the percussion section enters to establish the steady pulse of the work, which ultimately creates the groove of the work. The vocals of this selection are characteristic to the other tracks previously stated on the album, which works well for the band, for this selection is overly pleasing to the ear and memorable; thus, keeping that characteristic sound helps to keep this song in the mind of the listener. In the middle of the selection, the band incorporates three quick transition sections that goes from: heavy hitting percussion, an elaborate guitar solo, and then a drop in instrumentation. This final drop of instrumentation helps the band to heighten the last run of the chorus, which is strong since this is the last track of the album; therefore, this is a strong closing song for the album because it catches the attention of the listeners, it embodies Grayscale’s characteristic sound, and it is overly memorable.

 Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars. I would give this album such a score, for it is a very strong release for a debut full-length album. The band provides their audience with their characteristic sound as well as characteristic musical choices that help them to stand out among the crowd: innovative melodic riffs paired with overly catchy yet relatable lyrics. Furthermore, if you’re looking for an album to sing along to and vibe with, this is the album for you. Nice work!

*”Adornment” was released on May 5, 2017 through Fearless Records.

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