Gravity Won't Get You High - The Grates
Russell Degnan

Commenting on an album when it is being hyped across the spectrum of half-decent radio and the best-selling stacks of half-decent record stores is probably a bad idea. Unless I was spruiking for a bigger audience, of course. Because, on the back of some overseas success and deserved local popularity, The Grates new album is going gang-busters. With only a few years of dodgy pub gigs behind them, their jump to respectability on the American and UK indie scenes is less graft and more the product of one thing: they can bang out an outstanding pop ditty in a little under three minutes.

And it is some ability. A three-piece consisting of their manic female singer Patience, Alana on drums and guitarist John, there have been inevitable comparisons with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but like all good Australian bands, they are happier, faster and have fewer pretensions, giving their sound a bit of a White Stripes/Magic Dirt feel to it (or perhaps the Divinyls). Perhaps the best aspect though is the production (often a weakness of Australian releases). Done in Chicago, it maintains a tight, clean sound throughout, and while a few songs drift into cliched pop, for the most part this album is all fun.

Track Highlights
19 20 20 - Nothing but gold. Great beat, short, but wonderfully constructed.
Rock Boys - Patience's best vocal effort. Slower, but nice.
Feels Like Pain - An excellent groove to this song, but with a typically belted out chorus full of thrash.
Inside Outside - A great demonstration of the band's skill at changing the pace of a song, while keeping it short and sharp.
Sukkafish - The best song on the album. Full of suprises for a band with so few members including a banjo which is always a winner.

Finer Things 23rd April, 2006 16:56:31   [#]