CLUAS Album Reviews

Grammatics 'Grammatics'

Apr 8

Written by:
Wednesday, April 08, 2009  RssIcon

A review of the album Grammatics by Grammatics

Review Snapshot: Grammatics’ mishmash debut album can sometimes be embarrassing in its attempt to cover a lot of ground, leaving you thinking that too much of an influence is a bad thing. Anyone got a Solpadeine? 

The Cluas Verdict? 5.5 out of 10

Full Review:
Grammatics‘Bona fide genius.’ So said the NME of Grammatics’ debut album, entitled, er, Grammatics. Far from genius, this album is a muddle of sounds that never seemed to have been introduced to each other before the recording process. As a fan of experimentation, I thought this blend of violins, deep and dirty distortion, Foals-like harmonics and falsetto would leave me feeling full. Instead, the album gave a sense of never understanding its purpose, or truly feeling its sound. Lead singer Owen Brinley describes his participation in the band on MySpace as a ‘squeal,’ which I take to be an appropriate and not wholly ironic description of how Brinley sings. If you can make it to the end of the album in one go without gritting your teeth at his forced falsetto, I applaud your tolerance.

The NME might be guilty of abusing language with exaggeration, but they were correct when they called the Leeds band ‘ambitious musical shape-shifters.’ Post rock? Post Pop? Art rock? Gimmick rock? It’s hard to know where Grammatics slot into the current musical scene, but then, perhaps it’s insulting to try and make them fit. In any case, Grammatics is an album that leaves you scratching your head and wondering what happened to the somber and promising beginnings of opening track Shadow Committee.

We move from track to track in a jolting manner, with no release or sense of conclusion. Although technically quite musical, the tracks just don’t work. Second track D.I.L.E.M.M.A clearly spells gimmick, and sounds so much like Foals that I begin to wonder if the influences are too much for Grammatics to handle. There are little flashes of indie pop group Delays’ sound too with Murderer, a song vaguely reminding me of the early 90s big hair soaps that appeared on Sky One.

Begrudgingly, there are highlights. Grammatics’ high comes in at the midpoint of the album with a track called ‘Relentless Fours’. This song reveals that Brinley’s voice can lose control and sounds quite good in the process. Emilia Ergin joins in with a sweet voice that is refreshing and gives the band a much clearer sound. One begins to wonder why Ergin’s vocal talents have not been exploited on other tracks. The a capella harmony might be a bit repetitive in its lyrics but it shows that sometimes Brinley can sing naturally.

Signed to Dance to the Radio (Howling Bells, Sky Larkin, The Pigeon Detectives), and gearing up to support Bloc Party in the autumn, Grammatics might be trendy and loved by NME, but for me their sound is a try-hard attempt at being unique without making it.

Niamh Madden

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8 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

WOW How could you get it so wrong?

By Eoin on   Saturday, April 11, 2009
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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

I cant believe how desperately wrong you are with this review. This album is so ambitious, such a mix of incredible musicians and writing and it is definitely nothing short of perfect. Also, you didnt do your research very well either, it was Laura Groves of Blue Roses who does the pretty backing vocals that you talk about, not Emilia. But Emilia is definitely as good live and they produce a sound that is so well put together that its just totally arresting. You're definitely objectively wrong about the jolting from track to track, it flows perfectly and all of the songs create an astoundingly good album. It sounds ridiculously little like foals, it is definitely unique and they achieve this effortlessly and with incredible amounts of talent. Easily a 9 or 10/10.

By tom on   Thursday, April 30, 2009
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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

I cant believe how desperately wrong you are with this review. This album is so ambitious, such a mix of incredible musicians and writing and it is definitely nothing short of perfect. Also, you didnt do your research very well either, it was Laura Groves of Blue Roses who does the pretty backing vocals that you talk about, not Emilia. But Emilia is definitely as good live and they produce a sound that is so well put together that its just totally arresting. You're definitely objectively wrong about the jolting from track to track, it flows perfectly and all of the songs create an astoundingly good album. It sounds ridiculously little like foals, it is definitely unique and they achieve this effortlessly and with incredible amounts of talent. Easily a 9 or 10/10.

By tom on   Thursday, April 30, 2009
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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

This is a possible candidate for worst review ever written. Niamh, you are an epic crashing fool and need to be prevented from giving your opinion on music. Give up now...you just aren't cut out for music journalism and I find it offensive that you even consider yourself worthy of offering judgement on a record of this quality. It is completely laughable. I sincerly hope that you are not allow to desecrate other albums of this quality with your sad inexperienced drivel. The internet has given fools like you a worldwide outlet, and that is a tragedy in itself.

By jimbob on   Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Get a clue.

By Clair Jakobson on   Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

Such a laughable review! This album was Drowned In Sound reader's joint second album of the year! What a fucking shocker of a review! This guy needs relieving of an opinion!

By john on   Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

Tom, If you disagree with the review, please feel free to submit an alternative one. If it is well written I will gladly publish it on CLUAS.

By eoghan on   Thursday, April 30, 2009
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Re: Grammatics 'Grammatics'

I thought facts, not opinions, were about right and wrong.
What do you believe I get wrong?

By Iambeave on   Monday, April 13, 2009

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