Brisbane's Grates make pop, for sure, but a kind of gleefully refracted revisionist pop music that values boundless emotion over intellectualized fiddling, a mishmash of influences that, like hot pink and red, shouldn't work in combination but dazzle when properly executed. Gravity Won't Get You High is more than just a smoothed-over version of the gritty bubblegum-garage of their indie EP. It sounds like producer Brian Deck wisely let the good-natured three-piece go mad in the studio, allowing Patience Hodgson, John Patterson and Alana Skyring to layer bits of whatever they fancied onto their basic template, then pulled it together into a cohesive whole. The collision of distorted guitar with bluegrass banjo and fiddle on the pensive ballad Sukkafish is genius; the piano-recital keys and circus waltz tempo that shatter into a snarly-guitar chorus make Nothing Sir soar. The trick here may be lead singer Hodgson's willingness to completely take on the vocal persona required for each track; she immerses herself in the precise character required for the various genres. This is superlative pure pop, a perfectly sequenced album where you happily remember each of the 14 songs long after the final track ends.
The Grates kangaroo-hop into Lee's Palace Saturday (September 9).