For their second full-length, Toronto’s Greys became the band they ‘always wanted to be’. And while I already quite liked the band they were when they released If Anything back in 2014, they definitely stepped up to the plate for Outer Heaven.
Still leaning heavily on the dissonant, noisy post-punk they earned their stripes with, they managed to sneak a bunch of other influences in as well that make things even more intriguing. You’ll notice hooks and melodies that pop up in between the noisy as fuck outbursts. Or maybe it’s the other way round. An atmospheric part will fade in, hold hands with an almost poppy hook for a spell and then drift away again. Or get blown away by another outburst that borders on the chaotic. You never really know what to expect next, and it keeps you on your toes. It doesn’t make “Outer Heaven” the easiest album to listen to, but it’s all the more rewarding once you find your way through these ten songs.
It’s not just musically that Greys covers more ground this time around. Lyrically as well, vocalist Shehzaad Jiwani expands his subject range. “No Star” for example not only tackles his feelings in the aftermath of the tragic events at the Bataclan last November, but also finds him talking about what it’s like as a person of colour in a predominantly white community.
It’s cool to see these guys evolve, constantly trying to break out of their comfort zone, and then end up with an album as solid as “Outer Heaven”. Fans of fellow Toronto natives Metz, Slint and even Sonic Youth should take notice.