Review: Greys sound fearless on the genre-agnostic Age Hasn’t Spoiled You

Like fine wine, Bill Hader or Gillian Anderson, the Toronto band are only getting better with age

Rating: NNNN

Three years may seem like a lengthy gap between albums, but the members of Toronto post-punk band Greys have kept busy. Bassist Colin Gillespie slipped out an ambient solo album as C.R. Gillespie, while drummer Braeden Craig provides the pulse for disco-kraut trio Sauna. Singer/guitarist Shehzaad Jiwani started his own experimental pop solo project Golden Drag and proved his mettle in the studio with production work for Casper Skulls, Lonely Parade and Patio.

That all sets the stage for Age Hasn’t Spoiled You, Greys’ sonically dynamic comeback record. Referencing exploratory third albums like Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head, PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love and Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music, they have a fearless new genre-agnosticism. They’ve travelled a vast distance from the Fugazi-nodding, sub-two-minute, post-hardcore blasts of their early songs. Now they stretch out into explorations of dub, drone and deconstructed rap-rock like a spacey Judgment Night soundtrack reboot.

Greys have always been more than a punk band, as evidenced by the Grouper-style sound collages on their 2016 release, Warm Shadow. This 11-song, 48-minute epic is their furthest divergence from the initial formula to date. These Things Happen show off the band’s Chemical Brothers influence, tacking on an acoustic bridge that wouldn’t sound out of a place on a Woods record. The languid psychedelia of Western Guilt and closer Static Beach resemble Deerhunter run through Lee Scratch Perry’s mixing desk. 

Local sax hero Joseph Shabason shows up for a free-jazz freakout on the beat-driven single Kill Appeal, while the nearly eight-minute Aphantasia rides an echoing motorik rhythm into Sonic Youth guitar damage and eerie trip-hop texture. 

Like fine wine, Bill Hader or Gillian Anderson, Greys are only getting better with age.

Top track: These Things Happen

Greys play NXNE’s Festival Village, which takes place June 14-16 at Yonge-Dundas Square.

@nowtoronto | @wipeoutbeat

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