One of the annoying things about EPs is that you rarely get to see their tracks feature on albums. Actually, the problem is two-fold. You’re missing out on great tracks that you wish were on the album but when you try to find an EP to buy, you can’t because there were probably limited copies.
Michael A Grammar have been thoughtful in that regard. All the tracks from their two previous EPs (Random Visions and Vitamin Easy) are included in their debut album plus four extras that have been collectively termed ‘Lunar Sea’. Some might feel hard done-by but come on, as if you’ve grown tired of their two EPs already.
The alluring serenity in the opening of ‘Upside Down’ swirls with care like a kaleidoscopic dream that doesn’t give you a headache. The layered production gives it a real sense of depth and you’ll find yourself flicking between them. And when this is followed by ‘All Night, Afloat’ you begin to wonder why they haven’t been talked about more. But sometimes, it takes a good album before people start noticing.
They’ve done that difficult thing of not sounding like a new band at all. Instead, you might think they’ve been around for a while and you may even feel displeased you didn’t discover them earlier. Once you get to ‘Light of a Darkness’ though, you won’t care. You’re just happy you found it. Metallic guitars glisten through the hazy atmospherics guiding along with the droning vocals before kicking into a lick that could lift roofs.
But what’s surprising about their sound how they anchor their soaring textures with a krautrock base while little psychedelic flourishes add colour. In ‘You Make Me’, you first have settle yourself some a wobbly melody before unleashing heavier riffs that knock you off balance again.
They have a comprehensive with little but no necessarily subtle hints. Anything from Joy Division to Slow Dive is knitted into their foggy aesthetic. It closes with ‘Don’t Wake Me’ which is probably their most accessible track but the hazy stoner-shoegaze sound still radiates from it. Don’t think just because it’s easy, it’s boring either or you’ll miss out on another sludgy finale.
In truth though, as someone who loves EPs, this isn’t the way an album should be crafted. Albums are like books and when you’ve put two short stories at the start of one, it just doesn’t quite sit right. Michael A Grammar have a deft appreciation for textures and the way those textures morph over the course of a song. I would have liked to see them craft a more coherent album that paints a picture form start to finish. But for now, we’re happy losing ourselves in lots of little individual dreams.
Michael A Grammar’s self-titled debut album is due for release on 29th September via Melodic