Tuesday, February 19, 2013

First Listen :: The Grafham Water Sailing Club

Words: David Beech

Coventry-based quartet, The Grafham Water Sailing Club are causing a stir across the midlands. Their bizarre blend of dark industrial post-punk won't appeal to everyone; that much at least is clear. Their unique brand of melancholia will however attract attract it's fair share of supporters. Sounding somewhat similar to bands such as Joy Division is always going to work in a bands favour and this case is no exception.

That said, TGWSC aren't just resurrecting the spirit of Ian Curtis. They've created their own mix of ominous vocal work, chunky sounding bass lines and off-kilter guitar work which is as jarring as it is welcoming. Shirking the usual conformity, the band don't necessarily have their own individual parts to play. Instead they share the musical responsibilities of each instrument across the board, creating something that drips versatility.

'Pericolo' starts with some tightly produced drum work and the clean bass sound that perpetuates each of their songs before giving way to lo-fi vocals that are both haunting and captivating and though they are occasionally that little bit too understated, the vast majority of the time it's Nathan Rewhorn's vocal work that really carries the song. That's not to detract away from the other members of the band who are obviously talented musicians. It's just that the song is straightforward in terms of the instrumentation and serves as a platform for Rewhorn's vocals despite being almost-instrumental. A fantastically understated flute lead decorates the song giving it varied intonation in what would otherwise be a bass-heavy affair.

New single entitled 'Kappa Kappa' it's more fast-paced than the latter. The sound of a police siren litters the first minute of the song before bass-heavy verses kick in sounding similar to both 'Cecilia Ann' and 'Planet of Sound' by The Pixies, Rewhorn's subdued vocals are again on top form, and sound somewhat sinister when coupled with the disjointed experimental sounds of the rest of the band. That said though, while the bands music certainly falls in to the experimental category, the structure of the songs are fairly straightforward, and make for easy listening which is somewhat paradoxical given the bizarre nature of the tracks.

While not for everyone, The Grafham Water Sailing Club are definitely doing something no-one has else. There music is dark and dreamy, ominous and occasionally ostentatious. Fuelled by melancholy (and if they're Tumblr is anything to go by: a lot of weed) this is the sort of music that could be considered depressing. However it is anything of the sort. Merely an experiment in experimentation and definitely something you've never heard before.

Forthcoming dates:

February 22 – Birmingham, The Rainbow (w/ The Chapman Family)
February 23 – Cheltenham, Sound Music Venue (w/ Exit Calm)
March 16 – Scunthorpe, The Light (w/ Public Service Broadcasting)
April 28 – Paris, La Cantine de Belleville

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