Grace Lake is a four-piece band comprised of Ste Chambers (guitar), Jonny Gartside (drums), Simon Carline (bass) and Peter Reeves (vocals/guitar). Since 2013 the band has had a number of lineup changes from a five-piece to a four-piece but still found time to release their debut EP entitled Respirations. The band plays what I consider a mix of pop punk and alternative. You can hear elements from as far back as early ‘90s grunge to more contemporary sounds you might hear if you turned on the radio.
The songwriting and production is solid throughout the four songs. It’s consistent and the band doesn’t deviate too far from the style you are introduced to on the first song “Meeting Adjourned.” The song starts with a distorted guitar laying into power chords while a clean, atmospheric lead floats atop the white noise. Drums enter into the mix and the band transitions into the verse. There is a good amount of kinetic energy and the song benefits from well-implemented vocal harmonies and a dynamic chemistry. The band's finest moment comes towards the end where they delve into post-rock territory with cascading guitars that ascend towards the heavens.
Next up is “LHDC” which has a sludgy/metal vibe that sounds good on the band. The notes hang low as the distortion seeps off the guitar. It also contains an impressive guitar solo that they close out the song with. The next song “Respirations” is atmospheric and ethereal compared to “LHDC” at least in the beginning. It starts with pretty guitar picking that sounds good on a nice pair of headphones. As the song progresses it get more intense. Distorted guitar begin to make themselves known but the most inspired moments come about halfway through the song. The band plays with guitar tones and textures as they go back and forth in competition for dominance.
The last song “No Resolve” was a highlight. I loved the calming, serene beginning, which revolves around a soft pad and a guitar that slowly fades into the song. Shards of distorted guitar penetrate the tranquil calm creating an engaging dichotomy. The song eventually leads to the most anthemic and cathartic the band gets. It also happens to have the best vocal performances. Respirations is far from perfect but it has built a solid foundation for the band. I having a feeling their best work is ahead of them but this a good start.
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