I don’t usually write about CD-only releases. After all, the blog is called Life in the Vinyl Lane, and my backlog of vinyl is more than adequate to allow me to post once a day if I wanted to. But let’s be real – putting out your album on vinyl is expensive, even if it’s a 7″, and most stuff hits the streets either digitally or on CD. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Every now and again, though, I run across a CD that blows me away, and when that happens I feel compelled to tell you all about it.
The new seven-song CD by GRÓA is one of those albums.
I got this from my buddy Gestur over at Reykjavik’s Lucky Records, who I give carte blanche to add any CDs to my vinyl orders that he thinks I might like. And most of them I do like. Occasionally though I find one that I love. And that’s why I’m here writing about GRÓA as I sit down to listen to it for the third time in a row.
If you look at the cover of GRÓA you’d be forgiven for assuming this is punk or some kind of extreme metal. But while there is some punk attitude, it’s more indie to my ears. The band is comprised of three young women who are still in high school, none of whom played anything other than piano before forming this band and making it all the way to the finals of Músíktilraunanna, Iceland’s annual battle of the bands. It’s hard to believe they got this good this fast, but I’m sitting here listening to the evidence with my own ears. I generally focus on albums as opposed to singles, but if I was picking a Top Song of 2018 I guarantee you that “Ocean Is Amber” (♠) would make the Top 5 and would be a strong contender for the top spot. The verses undulate and the choruses explode. There’s a hint of funkiness to the rhythm (and if you want to hear them get really funky, check out “Eoeo”) that is a perfect foil to the angsty vocals in the chorus. Other times they’re darker and punkier, most notably on “Fimmta Lagið”.
You can listen to GRÓA and buy a digital copy and their label’s Bandcamp page HERE. I’m not sure about tracking down a copy of the physical CD – that might require a bit more effort.
(♠) As soon as I heard “Ocean Is Amber” I was sure I’d heard it before, but I knew I’d never seen GRÓA perform live. Turns out the song was included on the comp Drullumall #1, which I also highly recommend. It was put out by the same label, so you can check it out at their Bandcamp page as well.