Published Oct 05, 2016It's unexpected to hear this much from Greys again so soon, given that the Toronto noise-punk band dropped Outer Heaven only a few months ago. But here, citing similarly inspired efforts like Radiohead's Amnesiac, Deerhunter's Weird Era Cont. and Kendrick Lamar's untitled.unmastered, they're back already with a companion piece to their ambitious second album. Comprising original tracks and elements from that album's studio sessions, Warm Shadow explores the creative possibilities of their continued experimentation.
There are half-thought post-punk jams like "UberEats," which ends just as it gets revving, and "ProTech!" which is synthy, warbly and nonsensical. "Fresh Hell" is a full-blown noise-rocker, yet the super-rough mix doesn't quite do justice to the song's dizzyingly experimental punk sounds or the pointed lyrical content, as singer Shehzaad Jiwani imagines an Orwellian future driven by institutional oppression while taking aim at Rob Ford and Jian Ghomeshi sympathizers.
On the other end of the spectrum are cuts that focus almost exclusively on atmosphere, like the spacey, instrumental jam "Trish K," and the ambient, piano-led experiment "Colour Out of Space." Slow and serene "Space Mountain" channels mid-era Sonic Youth, while "Outer Heaven" builds textured layers of swelling, crackling reverb before sliding dreamily into a Fantasia-like vintage sample buried under thick, wet layers of modulation. "I'd Hate to Be an Actress" is a must-hear for fans who caught last year's Repulsion EP. The stripped-back version of that release's "I'd Hate to Be an Actor" nixes the booming and crashing full band in order to let its simple melody seep right into your skull.
While the group's aforementioned reference points have been quite successful as standalone releases, it's hard to see Warm Shadow the same way. It's full of unique and fascinating ideas, though also marked by a sense of incompleteness. It is, however, a worthy way to show how far Greys can push the boundaries of their sound, and it could be an illuminating time capsule as the band continue to progress with their music — and, ideally, gain an increasingly fervent fan base that makes up the ideal audience for this kind of release. (Buzz)