Any band naming their album something like ‘Afterthoughts’ invite parody. Hack reviewers like myself could potentially pick like vultures over what parts of the record could be indeed be considered afterthoughts, and draw the two together in a vague attempt at humour. For example, afterthoughts on the album include: any variety between songs, so too any change in rhythm or pace. Lead guitar, it could also be said, is an afterthought.
It’s unfair to continue like this, so I’ll stop. Overall, Irish alt rock duo Greywind have released a solid debut album. When it works, it works. The opener and title-track is the most effective, and, thanks to its position at the top, is poised to capture the listener’s ear and retain all novelty. It’s a powerhouse; a lesson in crescendos, thick guitar sounds, and hook choruses.
The next few tracks play with the style in an effective manner, and mark the point when Steph O’Sullivan‘s vocals (the true star of the show) come into ascendancy. When she embarks on an octave shift for the last chorus of ‘Forest Ablaze’, belting out, “Light the gasoline / Lit it after mourning / Cured my apathy / See that forest burning”, you might stop in your tracks and rewind the whole thing to listen again.
Unfortunately, Paul O’Sullivan‘s music can’t change gears quite as effectively as his sister’s vocals. The album feels slow. The second half of it is forgettable, and not because it’s bad, but rather it leaves you fatigued by the time you get there. Individual tracks may benefit from a ponderous tempo that lays a foundation for the vocals, but track after track relies on a sustained palm-muting that eventually feels confining. The music plateaus while the vocals soar. Even the lyrics suffer, in these tracks Steph is forced to sing as a walking pace, meaning whole thoughts are started thirty seconds before they’re finished.
It’s only when the end of the album beckons that this style pays any sort of dividends. ‘Desolate’ has a poppy feel to it, while ‘In Autumn’ uses its pace to build to a cataclysmic sound that they’ve been searching for all record, thanks to a subtle change in instrumentation.
‘Afterthoughts’ is a juggernaut that moves at its own speed, which is both good and bad. You’ll have finish this one in two sittings, or risk get desensitised to its power.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)