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The Grates
Gravity Won't Get You High
Dew Process Records

Based on the first track "I Won't Survive" from The Grates' first full length album Gravity Won't Get You High, I predisposed the album as a knock off of Le Tigre with javelin-like vocals and coppices of fun, groping, music doodles. But with each successive track there is more to like about Brisbane, Australia's punk rockers The Grates as they explore and pioneer trails that have been untapped by those before them.

Their debut album, produced by Brian Deck has kinetic surges, mercurial circulation, and music schemes that parallel Metric, The Kills, and Be Your Own Pet. There is a refreshing air about The Grates music that probes outside the parameters of established punk rock circumferences and anoints their songs with intrinsic meaning. The rhythmic moves and indie rock provisions on "Lies" undertone the vocal steering of Patience Hodgson as she unbuttons tied up emotions with unhindered gusts. The vocals have a freehand scroll and punk suaveness akin to Jemina Pearl from Be Your Own Pet. Boldly released, melodically stippled, and individually wrapped are the recurring themes in The Grates music.

The accelerating momentum on "Howl" dispatched by drummer Alana Skyring and the coiling strides of guitarist John Patterson craters the song with a Yeah Yeah Yeahs' dither. "19 20 20" latches catchy phrasings to the punk stance of the vocals as "Trampouline" pounds with twisting moves, undulating vocals, and edgy drumbeats. The Grates explore softer punk rhythms on "Science Is Golden" showcasing versatility in tempo and coloring. Their track "Feels Like Rain" shows their skill to transition sparse segments with flustering channels unifying the progressions seamlessly.

The singular piano intro on "Nothing Sir" segues into a carnival-like stasis with a Dresden Dolls jamboree. The quirky segments on "Inside Outside" have Bjork style eccentrics but fit into the melodic sequences perfectly. The ripples and chimes on "Sukkafish" are accessorized with banjo style phrasings and toe tapping beats. "Seek Me" has '60s style tambourine ringlets along dance grooves and club music motoring. "Little People" tools a recorder interval in the punk rock mix, and "I Am Siam" is the most charming piece on the album with a marching band percussion rattling along with the smooth sailing vocals and light instrumentation.

The Grates deliver an album with bundles of fun, creativity and imagination. The sequences thread quirky pop-ups with melodic rock phrasings but it's the saucy/melodic vocals that engage the listener and bring them into the music.

-Susan Frances

1. I Won't Survive
2. Lies
3. 19 20 20
4. Rock Boys
5. Howl
6. Trampouline
7. Science Is Golden
8. Feels Like Rain
9. Nothing Sir
10. Inside Outside
11. Sukkafish
12. Seek Me
13. Little People
I Am Siam

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