Album review – Grawl!x – Aye!
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★★★★☆ Just over a year since Grawl!x burst into being with the whispered statement of debut album Good Grief, multi-instrumentalist James Machin has returned with the latest evolution of his new guise.
Aye! is out now
Aye! takes the reverb-heavy, dream-pop template of the debut but begins to explore the true potential Machin’s musical universe.This is an infinitely more joyous, and colourful record which is strange when considering the ominous subject matter it is based on. Forming part of a trilogy exploring the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of dealing with grief (this covers ‘acceptance’ – the final stage) you’d expect an aural tapestry of grief, darkness and misery, but Aye! is a work of beauty. As a singular talent who plays every instrument on this record it feels like the result of a definite individual journey. When you consider the recording process, recorded over months at disjointed sessions in bedrooms and other “spaces” it is easy to identify this music’s freedom and lack of a sense of place – it sounds like part of the fabric of its surrounds. Aye! is also fuller, bigger and more grandiose sounding, which can be filtered back to the band’s (it is a band in the live arena) tour of beautiful churches around the UK. The way Machin’s original Grawl!x songs sounded echoing around these epic spaces has bled into the sound of Aye! All romanticism aside, musically Aye! is simply a wonderful listen right from the ominous piano of opener ‘night start’ through to the album’s last gasps. ‘Pando’ expanding on the dream-pop of Good Grief is pure joy and a chiming indie-pop gem.
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Aye! is out now
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