Release Date: 7 April 2017
In the 2000s and the 2010s, post-punk made quite a resurgence among artists occupying the alternative/indie end of the spectrum. London-based H.Grimace harness this with a confident and defiant onslaught of sound, distortion, and intertwining melody. Debut album Self-Architect opens with "Thoroughbred," which sets the tone perfectly: palm-muted, scratchy guitar chords are delivered alongside raucous kickdrum and snare, with the track twisting and morphing into a hard Wall of Sound that simultaneously batters the eardrums and reels in the listener with its noir-pop vocal melodies. Follower "Land/Body" begins with sorrowful, arpeggiated chords before the verse kicks in with bluesy, overdriven riffs, while the track’s centerpiece rolls out an insolent barrage of unwavering discordance. Apart from the impressively crunchy production techniques, one of the surefire highlights is the band’s lyrics, which traverse issues concerned with decadence and humanity's inability to interact with one another in the 2010s -- all delivered with vocalist Hannah Gledhill's deadpan yet assured vocals. This is also evident in the band’s own admiration of other artists and visionaries: fourth track "2.1 Woman" features a spoken word monologue from poet Vivienne Griffin, who critiques the pressure put upon women to improve themselves. Album highlight "Lipsyncer" boasts an invigorating pre-chorus that seems like it’s going to kick into the chorus the first time around, but only teases with a bar before ultimately feeding into another verse. Such creative, forward-thinking compositions embody the band’s desire to break out of the 4/4, verse/chorus/verse structure while simultaneously outlining and assuring their penchant for hooks and melodies evident in a lot of alternative pop music throughout the decades. Penultimate track "The Dial" features an interesting monologue from Gledhill. The lyrics are somewhat reminiscent of "Off Peak Dreams" by alt-rock collective Ghostpoet, effectively encapsulating the humdrum life of the non-class-specific worker yearning with ambition. Packed with ten songs of rumbling drums, jangly reverberated guitar chords, frantically tremolo-picked riffs, and bold, unapologetic vocals, Self-Architect is a fantastic full-length debut from a band honoring the sonic traits of those who came before them with an altogether new, fresh, and beautiful cacophony of noise.
- Rob Wacey, AllMusic