2020 was probably the most devastating year rock music has endured in a long time, and it had almost nothing to do with the prime talent rocking the American underground these days. One of my favorite indie acts at the moment, Greye has a new album in So Far So Good out this summer that seeks to bring us all of the raucous excitement we missed out on in the last year and more, and while it’s an unruly affair that bleeds overdrive in every performance its tracklist contains, it doesn’t feel like it was thrown together by musicians who don’t care about their craft.
Tenacity isn’t limited to the riffing in So Far So Good’s songs, but instead spreads through the vocals and beats of “End of the Line,” “Growing Pains,” “Shoulda Coulda Woulda,” and the throwback “Burn” like a wildfire burning out of control. Greye are never afraid to get dirty with the music, nor the arrangement of the instruments pouring grime through our speakers and into the air around us; if I were pressed to describe their mentality here, I would say it meets halfway between experimentalism and a mission-based desire to stay true to the ethics of rock gods who came before them.
Greye don’t get overly focused on the vocal component of “Come and Get Me,” “Over My Head,” “Lucky,” and “I Don’t Mind,” but rather allow for the singer to creating spacing between herself and the rest of the band as to make her statements searing and humble when they’re finally unleashed to us. No one is setting the tempo up better than our vocalist is, and she’s so committed to making as non-fragile a harmony as possible in a lot of these songs that the percussion often has to follow the cadence of the verses to stick to a consistent script.
The basslines in the title track, “Growing Pains,” “Play God,” and “Come and Get Me” is the main balancing force preventing the guitar parts from spilling over into the drums and vocal, and had they not been granted the extra boost in the mix that they were in all four songs, I’m not positive this particular batch of material would have the same surgically-precise stylization of the remainder of So Far So Good. If there’s one thing Greye won’t do here, it is reject the use of organic weaponry just to amplify glamourous cosmetics, and you can’t debate that in tracks like these.
They’re still proudly rough around the edges and unwilling to shave down their sharper points just to appease commercial pressures in contemporary alternative rock, but I’ve always found Greye to wear the look of a rag-tag bar band better than a lot of the competition ever could – were they talented enough to record something even half as great as So Far So Good is this summer. They know who they are, and at this point, I think anyone who has a real ear for the best of indie rock today should as well.