Listen: H Grimace - Self Architect
'Self Architect' is the spiky and assured debut album by the Anglo-Australian post-punk quartet H.Grimace, an outfit who specialise in moulding the fury of impassioned discourse on modern social ills to snappy, economical alt-rock shapes that tilt towards the work of such luminaries as Savages, PJ Harvey, Elastica, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, The Cure and Wire yet forage to the sound of their own, distinct, indelible beat. By turns sobering, abrasive and thoughtful, 'Self Architect' is a frenzy of reverb- happy guitars and dreamy melodies that rewards those who discern its subtle variety of textures.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Hannah Gledhill, guitarist Marcus Browne, bassist Corin Johnson and drummer Diago Gomes demonstrate an unerring capacity for brooding, shoegaze-inflected pop songs with reflective, socially conscious lyrics that encompass such grave themes as personal identity, anxiety, power, patriarchal pressures on women and even the ecology.
Kicking off with the swaggering 'Thoroughbred', H.Grimace exhibit a classy command of menacing mood and punchy dynamics that feels immediately gratifying and locates a resonant tone somewhere between ethereal and boisterous.
The instrumental 'Excavations' is a scintillating workout notable for its intense drumming and crisp, nifty guitar licks, 'Lipsyncer' radiates a Pixies and PJ Harvey-styled combination of languor and snotty petulance and colossal stand-out track 'Land/Body' builds from a spidery, simmering prologue to an explosive, ferocious close cousin of Sonic Youth's 'Teenage Riot'.
The title track doffs its cap to visceral punk rock and 'Call It Out' recounts the true story of a friend who'd been drugged at a party with a blazing ferocity. The stunning '2.1 Woman' features a mesmerising spoken-word contribution about society's messages to women on body image and ideals of perfection from Irish poet and artist Vivienne Griffin. The icy, morose detachment of her voice swoons around purposeful, jangling guitars and industrial bass lines to dazzling effect.
The record concludes on a resounding high with the slow-burning, anthemic build of 'Royal Hush', a song that begins in a quiet, understated fashion before racing to another squalling, churning and rattling climax. H.Grimace exude an affection for muscular, crunchy 1990's indie-rock on an enveloping, well-crafted set that represents an intriguing tussle between doom-laden vocals, chiming melody, grungey atmospherics and volcanic slash and burns.
H.Grimace's 'Self Architect' is released on the Opposite Number label - they perform at The Green Man Festival in August.