Grains – ‘Play Loud’

By Liam Knowles

EPs are quite tricky to get right, especially if you’ve not got any full albums under your belt. You somehow must set out your entire mission statement over three or four tracks and give the listener a proper picture of who you are as a band. On the first half of ‘Play Loud’, Doncaster quartet Grains get this right to a high standard. Opener ‘F.P.S’ is a straight-up party punk rager right out of the Bronx/Gallows playbook; all sleazy licks and charging riffs with a vocal refrain sure to lodge itself in your head on first listen. ‘Narcotics’ is darker and slightly more subdued but hits just as hard, with the varying pace allowing for more interesting dynamics in the vein of latter-day Every Time I Die. These first two tracks sit perfectly together, and really set out the stall of what Grains are about.

Unfortunately, the latter half of the EP doesn’t work so well. The obviously titled ‘Instrumental’, whilst technically an excellent slab of heavy post-rock, is completely different tonally from the two preceding tracks to the point that it’ll have people checking if it’s still the same band. Perhaps on a full-length release, having had more time to get to know Grains as a band, this would have fared better – but after a mere two tracks it’s more confusing than anything else. Closing track ‘Symmetry’ also isn’t technically bad by any stretch, but it’s fairly one-note throughout and feels more like the epic ending of a longer song than its own entity. Again, on a full album this may have sat better, but it’s somewhat anticlimactic after the raw, unbridled energy of the first two tracks.

Grains have clearly got bags of talent and are brimming with potential. With a little more focus, they could be on to something truly special. ‘Play Loud’ is a great release despite its flaws and should get Grains in front of the right people to take their career to the next step, which hopefully will allow them to release an album and give their excellent ideas the breathing room they deserve.

LIAM KNOWLES

Three more album reviews for you

The Murder Capital - 'When I Have Fears'

Off With Their Heads - ‘Be Good’

Cultdreams - 'Things That Hurt'