Single Review: “Grace”

“Grace” is the debut single of Nate Adamson, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Vancouver, BC, self-released last October 2nd.

The relatively lengthy (5:32) track is an anthemic country-flavored indie-rock ballad, with gorgeous melodies, acoustic and lead guitars that strike the ear gently, providing a fitting background for Nate’s breezy vocals, singing subtly cryptic lyrics that maybe can be read as a love song, or a self-assurance declaration, or both:

What am I supposed to say?

Asking me why I ran away

Its better now, I’m glad you’re gone

Grace won’t be steering me wrong

The climax of the song is an intricate guitar solo at the final minute and a half of it, fading out into silence.

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Nate Adamson

The production values are well above average, every element is very well balanced, the guitars, the drums and the keyboards lie in harmony and give plenty of room to the vocals to flow.

The single brings to the forefront Nate’s multiple hats and talents, as a composer, as a vocalist, as a multi-instrumentalist and most importantly, as a producer, all done with flair that seems effortless for some reason, and all of it is condensed here into song for the world to listen, and it should.

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: “The Halloween Special” BY Ghost Orange & drmgrl (UK)

Stream or buy the album on Bandcamp.

First, I have to come clean, Halloween is not celebrated around these parts (Israel) so I was a little worried when I was tasked with writing a review for this split EP, but I pressed forward anyway, and was I surprised.

The EP is a common effort between two British musical projects, Ghost Orange, and drmgrl, the basic arrangement is as follows: the former with the tracks 1,2,4,6, and 8, and the latter with tracks 3,5,7,and 9, it’s released today on drmgrl’s own perfect world recordings label.

Usually, when I think of Halloween, I think of tv specials, little kids going door to door, and the like, but this EP is having none of that, the music can be described as a mix between Goth and Folk, all nicely wrapped in a Lo-Fi package.

The whole atmosphere brings forward the darker sides of Halloween, the lyrics range from bleak, through vindictive, to downright existential, with a backing of sparse acoustic guitars playing mostly minor chords, with small parts of piano and keyboards.

The EP starts with an instrumental piece which gives the EP its title, it sets the tone with a lightly distorted synth sound and a ghostly whistle sound, this track and the other instrumental track, “Ghosts Gather Round” are the only ones where the keyboards take center stage.

If the opening track set the tone sonically, the following track “Catacombs” does it lyrically:

I forget I’m not like the sun

I’m more like the bones in the catacombs

This makes it perfectly clear that this is not a holiday record.

In the 3rd track, “I Love you Octobers”, drmgrl make their entrance in a similar fashion:

Why do birds

Sing their love songs to the sky

That we both know

Will turn cold

And let summer flowers die

While listening the EP, I’ve noticed that although the tracks are split, the musical style is quite similar, the most notable difference I could find is in drmgrl’s more whisper-like vocals.

The light point of the EP, if there ever was one, is the 5th track “Charlie”, which serves as a twisted homage of sorts to “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, it even ends with a sample of Sally’s rant to Linus.

My highlight of the EP is the 8th track, “Pigeon”, a gentle tune with nice harmonies and soft piano flourishes, masking the resentful message at the end:

But of course you don’t know

What you don’t know

You only have pigeon thoughts

Thinking pigeon things

The final result is a fine effort, and the fact that it goes against the festive and commercialized spirit of the holiday makes for a very refreshing approach, which appeals to me even more.

So, er…Happy Halloween everyone?

“Aliki” BY Permanent Vacation (Italy)

Permanent Vacation, a British/American project based in Rome, released this week a single which is, essentially, a parting gift for a close friend of the duo, and it sounds accordingly.

The acoustic guitar riff that plays throughout the song gives a bluesy-folk feel, and together with the singer’s wistful vocals, an air of melancholy quickly descends upon the tune.

The track is as Bedroom Pop as you can get, with little background noises before and during the track and a friendly chat at the end, but you cannot help but feel the intimacy of it all, you can almost close your eyes and see the duo singing it to their friend in their final goodbye in a dimly lit room.

The lo-fi recording and the percussion that slightly goes astray in the middle of the song, if anything, only add spontaneity to the overall result.

I’m sure they will miss their friend dearly, and although I’ll never meet the subject of the song, after listening to the song, I’ll miss her too.