GRMLN – Empire

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

Some records are perfectly fitting for the time of their release, leaving you with an album for that particular season.  For me, the first full-length from GRMLN is definitely going to be one of my most played this summer.  Empire has the energy, the hooks and enough variance to keep it in constant rotation.

It’s fitting that Empire opens with “Teenage Rhythm” as this track most likely resembles the youthful exuberance of most teens, at least in the overall mood. Guitars start chugging while the drums immediately come in pummeling your ears, all building up to the adolescent shout of “get out get out” in the chorus.  It’s a track that makes it difficult to turn your ear the other way.  It leaves plenty of room for the following number to jump in with a bubbling undercurrent of bass lines.  “Blue Lagoon” has more of a ringing guitar sound, and it’s here where I first noticed how easy it is to sing along to the lyrics.  Who doesn’t love to bob your head and sing?

GRMLN, which is the primary work of Yoodoo Park, makes it difficult to skip a single track, even when writing a review.  “Hand Pistol” seems to blend the cocky swagger of Waaves with the hooks of Surfer Blood, though sounding entirely like it has its own personality.  You’ll hear a clean guitar cutting through the background, while a heavier guitar plays up front.  Then the attitude is switched up for a more indie pop appeal with “Coastal Love,” which has a slight effect on the vocals.  It’s a cleaner bent, which offers a bit of a breather from where Empire was dwelling for the last few tracks.

Now, I don’t want to sit here and tell you these are the greatest songs that man has ever written, but damn it if you’re not just going to have fun listening to this release.  “Do You Know How It Feels” has a great vocal throughout, and the energetic delivery of the guitars had me hooked instantly.  Then you skip ahead a few tracks to bob along to “1993,” which might just be the my favorite track on the album. It’s youthful, yet the musicianship is perfectly executed at every turn, displaying the blossoming skills of Park right before our eyes.

You can listen to this record, and almost immediately fall in love with it.  The songs throughout are fairly simple, yet they’re structured around hooks and melodies that grab hold of your eardrums, never letting go.  GRMLN has constructed the perfect seasonal listen, which due to current temperatures, is absolutely perfect.  Empire is fun, it’s catchy, and it’s something that might endure beyond the summer, keeping us warm all year long.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/05-Do-You-Know-How-It-Feels_.mp3]

Download: GRMLN – Do You Know How It Feels_ [MP3]

 

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