Ad­dicted to bass

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN Roy ( Sony) out now

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.

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