October 21st saw the release of The Gromble’s debut self-titled EP, an abstract collection of five tracks that offer variety and enthusiasm in equal parts. Taking their name from a character in Nickelodeon’s Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, the quintet have built their own quirky niche, being compared to the likes of Grouplove, Vampire Weekend and Miniature Tigers. The record was tracked almost entirely at the drummer’s Mum’s house, while the string and horn sections were recorded in the guitarist’s games rooms (specifically, the basketball court).
The eccentricity regarding the basics of the band is only a drop in the ocean in comparison to the vibes in their creativity. It’s incredibly hard to liken the music to any other, with the style seeming to be constantly changing; one moment a grunge blast of riffs seems imminent, and the next there’s a distinct beach-pop vibe floating through the tracks.
Bursting straight into Désolé Pt. II, there are moments that hint at influences in the same vein as Catfish and the Bottlemen, whilst other moments take you straight into an extensive library of synth- and electro-pop, Disorientating, spiralling and sprawling, there are moments that simply let the raw instruments take control of the piece in among the hazy vocal work, and moments where the levels of electronics push the track right up to the border next to psychedelic fuzz. Regardless of where it lies on a clarity scale though, there’s a mixed sense of both carelessness in its freedom, and control in its technical accuracy.
Equally eclectic Slam had wound in a plethora of sounds even before the vocals kick in. This time, there’s a strong sense of Empire! Empire! I Was A Lonely Estate seeping into the voice of the track, although the music couldn’t be further from that. At moments slipping into the fizz and fuzz of Alvvays, there’s an impressive amount thrown into every track, and to pull it apart instrument by instrument would seem wrong; it’s chaotic, yes, but it’s also damn brilliant.
A fittingly creepy opening to Creepy Jr. instills a bizarre and haunting layer to the forefront of the track, whilst the backing continues to surprise and baffle throughout, occasional “oooohs” never failing to surprise. At five minutes there’s a sense of the tracking being slightly padded out, with no clear structure or order adding to the confusion. If that sounds like a criticism, it’s far from it; it’s so rare to find a record as carefree and fluent as this one is, with no sense of aim or direction bogging it down.
Lazy vocals define Don’t Stand a Chance, the mellowed out sound becoming tinged with a fuzzy grunge sound, and a ska edge joining in to the sound later on in the piece. Closing with confident and boisterous vocals, the close is juxtaposed to the beginning of the end, You Don’t Know. Like a masculine twist on My Favourite Game, there’s a solemn control in the opening of the track, until electric shocks buzz through the five and a half minute piece, both strange and elegant.
Impossible to define, and impossible to not fall in love with, this revisits summer beach-pop with an autumnal rock edge.