Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Few Words About The Splendid Debut From Greylag

The debut album from Portland's Greylag is out now on Dead Oceans and it's an affecting record. Recalling the best bits of America's rock past, even dipping a toe into the waters of the post-grunge Northwest, Greylag -- Andrew Stonestreet, singer and from West Virginia, Daniel Dixon on guitars and from Northern California, and Texan Brady Swan on drums -- have produced a remarkably human record in an era where everything seems prepackaged. The album is organic and direct.

Check out the surging and nearly anthemic "Yours to Shake" to see what I mean. It's a rolling current of emotions that nearly unleashes at a few points around Stonestreet's vocals.

By the time we get to "Arms Unknown" there's a bit of a Led Zeppelin III influence creeping through, along with a nod in the direction of Red House Painters. The blues tradition pops up on "Mama" with some highly effective percussive flourishes by Swan.

"Burn" gently charms, equal parts Nick Drake and Neil Young. "Black Sky" channels a bit of Mark Lanegan and some more Zep -- think "Battle of Evermore" without Sandy Denny -- to make an affecting slow-burner.

But it is album closer "Walk the Night" that really captivated me as a first-time listener of Greylag. The cut pegs a near-Elliott Smith-like melody to vocals in the style of Nick Drake. This is a really magical piece of music.

Greylag by Greylag is out now on Dead Oceans.

Follow Greylag on their official website here.