Grimm Grimm's New Album Is Completely Mesmerising
Grimm Grimm has been floating amongst the London psych scene for a while now: opening shows for the likes of Younghusband and Toy, collaborating with Le Volume Courbe and releasing a single on Kevin Shield’s (My Bloody Valentine) co-run label Pickpocket Records. This year alone has seen Grimm Grimm appear on international line-ups (alongside Swans and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, to name a few) and the announcement of a debut album via ATP Recordings.
Koichi Yamanoha, the Japanese-born artist behind the project, combines acoustic guitar, effects pedals and vintage synthesizers to craft a pleasant dreamy sound- something distant from his involvement in the louder and more experimental psychedelic punk band Screaming Tea Party. His new record, ‘Hazy Eyes Maybe’, is a sonic representation of a reverie, inviting the listener to become immersed in the soft and spacey layers of the 10 tracks.
"Kazega Fuitara Sayonara", released as a 7” last year, opens the album, immediately demonstrating the simple yet innovative sound that assembles Grimm Grimm. The track also proves Yamanoha’s ability to create a real feeling of sadness in under 3 minutes- a skill that is sustained across the majority of the tracklist.
Along with the opener, songs such as "Teleportation" (track 4) and title-track "Hazy Eyes Maybe" (track 6) may be recognised from Grimm Grimm’s previous live sets. "Teleportation" is driven by gently played acoustic guitars and Yamanoha’s smooth vocals, all washed over by dreamy synths to form a really nice and peaceful listen. "Hazy Eyes Maybe" instantly begins with the chorus, ensuring catchiness and responsible for the track’s projection amid the others. The hazily-sung lyrics, laid over just guitars, are incredibly basic, but honest and sweet; the track exhibits the space-folk style that Grimm Grimm is associated with. Both songs are good as ever and yet to lose the depth and emotion they initially held.
"Robert Downey Syndrome" (track 7) is a near 7 minutes of just synths. Across the duration of the track, the early melancholy feel drifts into something darker and more sinister. Although not quite original or unexpected on such an album, the track is nonetheless pretty entrancing.
The record is not all slow and shadowy, though. "Last Word Is Mine" (track 5) introduces the album’s few dips into something pacier and more upbeat, almost resembling a soundtrack to a fairground in its use of keys and high pitch. As the album nears an end, it takes a further detour from the main theme of the other tracks, with "Walk Into The Cold Water With You" (track 8) combining electric guitar and drums- a real contrast to the synth-based track before it. "Knowing", the penultimate song on the record, returns to the standard slow pace of the album, also continuing the lo-fi sound and foggy vocals but featuring choppy electric guitar which is later joined by cymbals.
‘Hazy Eyes Maybe’ contains an exciting mix of sounds and is simply a nice listen, definitely worth absorbing oneself in.
To find out more about Grimm Grimm, click here.
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Words by Saf Bugel.