Greylag is a type of goose, but also a band of gentlemen from Portland, Oregon. Their debut, self-titled album out on Dead Oceans is a combination of folk and soft indie rock that offers some grand builds and quiet jams that should put this band on the map of the indie world.
Often, I’m quite intrigued as to what the album artwork has to say about a record and the general aesthetic that it gives to the bands name. Here, we have what resembles an old book or diary, immediately making me believe this record holds intimacy. For the most part, this is a fairly valid reflection, which only becomes more apparent as the record progresses. However, as the band kicks things off with lead single “Another,” you don’t really get this vibe. Instead, what you have is a fireside-dance-party with earthy sounding acoustic guitars looping on top of each other as well as some banjo. This first track reminds me a little bit of a more clean-cut version of Cave Singers—the folk-country-jam breakdown is there, it’s just a bit more refined and produced. While not a bad start to the record, it’s just enough to pull you in to see what the group has to offer.
At first listen, there are some immediate attention grabbers, but the more I listen to this record, the more I’m realizing that the tracks that immediately stand out on first listen aren’t the best to be found here. On the contrary, the more subtle numbers from Greylag are the ones that you can hear the most promise in their sound. Take “Burn On,” as a perfect example of this; it has that personal and stripped gentle quality at first that lets you warm up with the band. They give you this great build up with those bombastic drums from earlier, some group backing vocal, striking lead vocal and that twangy lead guitar. This song is great, and so is the ending track, “Walk The Night.” Here is another stripped down number which works so well for the group, giving out the calm and tranquil energy of solitude of just a man and his guitar.
On the whole, this little release was an impressive start for this band. While there is some obvious room for growth—some of the tracks come across as a bit too repetitive or like other songs on the record—there are still songs that are definitely worth your attention. I’m excited to see what’s to come next from Greylag.