Addicted to bass
MOVING to New York to find inspiration sounds great – in theory.
But what happens when inspiration doesn’t strike straight away? Or for a whole year?
Woody Allen lied to Brisbane band The Grates. New York wouldn’t just gift them a new album, they had to work hard for it.
For the first time ever the band wrote music while living life instead of knocking out an album in a condensed burst.
They ate Mexican food, rode bikes through blizzards and stalked actor Adrian Greiner from Entourage.
Slowly, the songs revealed themselves.
The loss of drummer Alana Skyring to her passion for the culinary arts was a blow but it has enabled the band to take giant strides in new directions.
Change can be difficult for some but not The Grates.
They’ve discovered a new way of writing songs. Not better or worse, just different.
Their perky, poppy energy and playfulness is intact.
However, the band has taken on a whole new sound with the addition of bass for the first time. It’s changed their DNA. Now there’s no need for the vocals and guitars to fly at full pace constantly.
These two elements used to fill up the empty ‘‘ bass space’’.
But with warm bass lines jumping and slinking around these new tunes, singer Patience Hodgson has been gifted some additional wriggle room that she’s never had before – this fits her like a glove.
Grunge-influenced rocker Change is the song that most obviously captures the band’s new world, it’s the centrepiece, the one song the album couldn’t do without.
‘‘ I don’t want to change but I don’t want to stay the same,’’ she purrs.
Turn Me On’s noisy feedback kicks the album off with an assertive oomph but Hodgson sounds like she is floating above it.
She sounds bright and light. She is as comfortable as the night is dark.
A regretful, break-up tune Crying All Night is a prime example of the band’s blossoming songwriting skills.
It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it is one of their most direct and honest songs. These are lyrics that people will relate to immediately.
With You has a confidence not heard from Hodgson before. It’s a song about the obsessive nature of the early days of a relationship, it’s unlike anything she has written in the past.
The fuzzy guitar pop of Like You Could Have It All, Borrowed Skin and With You remind me of early Breeders songs – high praise. touchdown when he received a perfect score of 30. He had been offered a place on the show twice before but this year the timing was right.