Thursday 9 January 2014

grasshopper - Circle Time

EP review by

"Grant Hart from Husker Du thinks we are the future of Rock 'n' Roll" is one of the most impressive lines we've read on the press release of an unknown (outside of their local scene) band for quite some time. How he heard them we don't know, but if it's true then we perhaps ought to be seeing what the fuss is about and attempting to confirm  or deny his statement. Firstly, the vital statistics: grasshopper are a quartet (two parts male, two parts female) from the hotbed of musical activity that is Brighton. They formed in 2012 and have a new EP available called 'Circle Time'. Their music has been described as a cross between shoegaze and post-punk, and considering that half the submissions we receive are making similar noises it seems odd that they'd be singled out as being at the forefront of anything in particular. Unless of course, their music is stupendously good. Now we get to the bit where our humble opinion (which carries much less weight than Grant Hart's) decides whether or not it is.

After the strangely warped, bass-heavy intro of 'Underwatro' we go almost seamlessly into the first "proper" song: 'Rico's Revenge'. You can hear the post punk influence in there, and just the faintest echo of shoegaze too; the first half of the song concentrates on building up an atmosphere and does succeed in being a bit different to other groups that we hear, but it's when they reach the mid-point that it's allowed to blossom, and, like the petals of a flower opening, that's exactly what it does. This sounds like a post-punk track embellished with dreampop production; the song is quite stark, but the effects and the vocals make it paradoxically rich. Not quite the future, but undeniably good nonetheless. 'Tiny Detonations' is instantly brighter, with chiming guitars and a driving beat combining with the merest sniff of '80s goth; it's very much rooted in that era, but has a freshness to it as well, and you start to think Mr. Hart might be right to back this band so heavily. There's a funky combination of psych and new-wave to 'Pre-Teen Has-Been' and suddenly they do have a more individual sound. It's a big highlight and contains all the hallmarks of a group who are brimming with potential. Rumbling and screeching at the same time, the innovative intro to fuzzier track 'The Mocking Room' keeps this high plateau going with its unwavering force, and helps put forth the case that grasshopper don't really do filler, and the final nail that secures this is the punky 'Too Many Hormones'. Because so many other bands are swimming in the same waters, calling grasshopper the future would be slightly inaccurate, but becoming one of the best in their particular area is well within their grasp.

grasshopper's website

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