Gross Relations –a Brooklyn based band with heavy punk and surf influences. Their music is catchy and charming. They’re out to win the hearts of new fans everywhere. Self-titled and ready to roll, their big debut is a big chance to prove themselves. Can they do it? –yeah probably.
Fuzzed out vocals, haunting synth melodies, soul-consuming guitar jams, and hypnotic drum beats. Gross Relations’ big debut album has all the fixings. For instance, the fourth track, “Discovery Zone,” starts off with a punk reminiscent guitar melody mixed with an assault of synth notes. With each chorus, the same cheerful yet distorted guitar melody rings out. The entire song is dreamy and contagiously upbeat. But that’s not all, the entire album seems to keep up with this standard.
Where most bands who try the whole lo-fi thing out end up sounding as brutal as nails on a chalkboard, Gross Relations comes off far more melodic. Remember how crappy car stereos used to be? That’s Gross Relations. They take that same old fuzz and static and make it sound good. That’s talent folks!
Brace yourself, this next bit is going to come out a bit harsh. I’m going to backtrack on everything I said, and just to make sure nobody gets upset, this is all subjective. Lo-fi is all the craze, but quite frankly, it’s delinquent. I’ll gladly say Gross Relations goes where no other band does, but now it’s time for some real talk. What the hell is going on? At times, I honestly believed there could be some sincere lyrics tucked away in many of those songs, but I couldn’t hear a damn thing. Furthermore, it just feels like there’s no reason for this level of quality. Back in the day, bands couldn’t afford the equipment to make any decent recordings. Yet they still did it, and there was an added texture to the whole experience. This just feels unnecessary, and if anything distracting. As well as they did, they really may have gone too far.
Enough ranting. In defense of the band, their music isn’t half bad and while I can EASILY see how somebody else would enjoy this, I myself cannot. The band really does have some solid melodies, and a personal favorite for me came in form of the synth parts. I don’t want to say they’re doing anything unique, but for as involved as it is, I haven’t heard synth delivered this well in a while.
Whether anything is objectively wrong with this album is up for debate, but fans of bands like Wavves will probably find this album beautiful. Gross Relations debut is a huge step into what could end up being a big spotlight. The band has serious potential, and without a doubt, they’re making a pretty big splash with this release.