by Torrey Proto
On their new mini EP Repulsion, Toronto’s fearsome foursome, Greys, continue to expand their sound into new sonic territories as they’ve been doing on every release after their 2011 debut EP Ultra Sorta. They recklessly straddle the line between blissful, hook-laden punk and pummeling, chaotic noise; picking up right where they left on last year’s debut full length If Anything.
The band makes good use of the brief ten minute run time. Opening track “The Voyeur” wastes no time as vocalist/guitarist Shehzaad Jiwani delivers the kind of gut wrenching hook that immediately grabs your attention. At just two and a half minutes, the opener quickly hits its mark through a barrage of noisy thrashing in between the melodic choruses. On second track and dreary first single “I’d Hate to Be An Actor,” Jiwani tries to find some peace and quiet underneath the noise in his head and tackles the topic of dependency in relationships with lines like “please, don’t make me speak / don’t ask questions, don’t ever leave.” He struggles to find a silver lining as his bandmates attempt to drown him out with sprawling and distorted sludge led by guitarist Cam Graham’s droning leads. The Greys frontman excels in crafting what is perhaps his catchiest hook to date while still creating a sense of unease with his indifferent and tired vocal. Closing track “Nothing Means Anything” bursts forth with a steady clockwork-like stutter step beat from drummer Braeden Craig, disrupting the false sense of peace and quiet set by the lethargic haze of the preceding track. Jiwani pulls no lyrical punches in his fed up and pessimistic rant on a variety of things such as the lack of originality, boredom, exhaustion, and struggling to relate to others. He punctuates his frantic narrative with a frustrated shout in lines like “I’m special ‘cuz I’m different, there’s no one else like me,” delivered with an urgency to match Craig’s beat behind him. Just when it seems the song is about to spiral out of control, Greys change course and end the EP with a hypnotic vocal hook that looks upward rather than falling apart itself, which seemed liked the only logical conclusion at the start.
Repulsion finds Greys at somewhat of a turning point in their career. They continue to tweak their formula just enough to keep things fresh without compromising the hard-hitting sound that they’ve cultivated throughout their five year run as a band. They’ve always struck a balance between melody and abrasiveness, but as they’ve progressed, they’ve found more clever ways to make the two extreme ends meet. All three songs on this EP highlight these strengths as the band artfully intertwines the chaotic with the serene. With a second full length in the works, it will be interesting to see where they go from here.