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Grlscz : [spade]

Not a total disaster, but by no means an essential Gothic/Doom venture, Grlscz's sophomore blows hot and cold throughout.

Substituting a name for a symbol is a practice which, historically, has had mixed results in the world of music to say the least. For every 'Four Symbols' album there is a misguided, and ultimately derided, attempt to protest against a record company by insisting on being referred to as The Artist Formerly Known As…. And so Grlscz (hey, you may struggle to pronounce it, but at least it's a name) deciding to label their album with a spade symbol rather than a title is a brave decision indeed. Brave, and perhaps even a trifle foolhardy, I dare say. Still, the proof is in the pudding. Much more important than names and titles is the question of whether the album is actually any good. Perhaps we should remember that to define is, as Mr Wilde said, to limit.

And the answer is not entirely positive, unfortunately. Nor, it must be said, is it entirely negative. Throughout the course of the album's 15 tracks, there are some interesting moments, and a good deal of diversity. One criticism that cannot be levelled at Grlscz's latest opus is that, musically at least, it is too samey. There are sparse arpeggios and moody synths, as well as aggressive distorted riffs and discordant droned passages with enigmatic voice samples. Quite often it works well, as on opener, 'Aurevilly Premiere', which begins the album ominously and builds in intensity as it draws to a close. Equally, though, there are some tracks on the album that don't quite seem fully realised, and would perhaps have been better left on the cutting room floor. Slimming down to perhaps ten or twelve tracks could have resulted in a leaner, more coherent record.

An interesting curio pops up midway through [spade] in the form of a cover of The Stooges' proto-punk classic, 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'. Musically, it's a relatively faithful rendition of the original, but Iggy's demented howl is replaced with a disinterested whispering croon. I do believe that covers should reinterpret the source material in a new and interesting way, in fact all the best ones have, but Grlscz's effort is less a new interpretation than a total disintegration. Vocals are hit and miss throughout the whole album, delivered almost always, in a lightly crooned fashion that is not quite singing and not quite speaking. Sometimes it works, and adds a touch of gothic chill, but often it is incongruous with the music.

The album is by no means a total disaster, and has some enjoyable moments of moody reflection, but too often it just doesn't seem to come together. There is a good album in there somewhere, but sadly it just doesn't quite reveal itself.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Aurevilly Premiere
2. Juste Apres
3. Femme Patrick
4. m3E
5. Je Saigne Encore
6. Vendredi 18
7. Be Your Dog (Stooges cover)
8. Jenkins
9. Albuquerque NM
10. Villainous
11. Page Blanche
12. Plus Tard Ou Jamais
13. Rainy day (She Did Not Answer)
14. 123
15. In Secret Love

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Grlscz bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-09-10 by Nick Harkins
Rotten Copper
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