It’s rare that an up and coming punk/hardcore band stands out these days. In fact, half the time, it’s almost a red flag for ‘potentially boring.’ Grieving, an up and coming punk/hardcore band defies patterns of mediocrity and instead promises excellence. Their brand new EP, Demonstrations, is appropriately named –it’s like a demonstration in everything a punk band could do right these days.
Is it hardcore? Like a Kinsella brother. Does it sound good? Accessible enough to show up on a playlist of punk rock hits. But does the album move you? A little.
Grieving’s big EP release, Demonstrations, hits the spot. The band is largely reminiscent of early or even Midwest emo, with a good dose of punk rock vibes. The guitar riffs are often slick and have a ‘twinkle’ to them while remaining familiar enough to not overwhelm new listeners. If the Kinsella brothers and Alkaline Trio started a supergroup, they may sound something like Grieving.
The EP kicks off a little awkwardly with, “My Friend, The Ghost.” The song starts with the same progression and persists onward for quite a while. Combined with the melancholic vocals, it makes for an early lull but a midway guitar line really starts to push the band forward. After a burst of distortion it’s like the band is running on all cylinders. The next track, “Ownership,” is a bit more involved. It’s quick with powerful percussive hits and constantly building guitar lines that fit on top of each other perfectly. A heavy bass line keeps thing steady while the vocalist slowly loses his composure (for the better). His occasional screams alongside distorted chord progressions is both easy to digest and surprisingly pleasing. It’s exactly what you would expect from a band like Grieving and it slays.
Nobody in their right mind would call Demonstrations bad; but the EP does come across as uninspired or perhaps too inspired. All five tracks are masterful, they exhibit a certain emotional degree, push out a variety of great guitar lines, and have some passionate vocals. At the same time, there’s a nauseating sense of déjà vu that haunts Demonstrations. Grieving doesn’t take a chance to really build something fresh and new. The band plays it safe and while that means they play it well –it just kills the replay value of the EP. Bluntly, Demonstrations is a one trick pony –and if you’ve listened to a repertoire of hardcore or emo albums before, then you’re almost guaranteed to be painfully underwhelmed.
Overall, Demonstrations strikes a nice balance between energetic and angry against mellow and sentimental. Their music isn’t the freshest thing to hit the block but if you manage to forgive it, Demonstrations holds up as a pretty solid EP. Track for track Grieving delivers a slew of punk-meets-emo songs that are solid. For an EP, Demonstrations is worth a listen.