Recording information: Hotel2tango (10/2015); Riverworks Music Studios (10/2015); Hotel2tango (11/2015); Riverworks Music Studios (11/2015).
Photographer: Wong Maye-E.
Toronto post-punk outfit Greys hit their stride on Outer Heaven, their full-length follow-up to 2014's acclaimed If Anything. While it's not an overly dramatic musical shift from the aggressive clamor of their debut, this second outing feels like pure creative growth. Living up to their name, Greys work in a netherworld between genres where hardcore catharsis-meets-post-punk detachment and indie rock cool. Behind singer/guitarist Shehzaad Jiwani, the band flexes a unified muscle, mounting massive assaults of sound that are as wild and spiky as they are tightknit. A soberer tone is introduced from the start with "Cruelty," a song whose decidedly low-key style belies the intensity of its subject. Inspired by a news story of a horrific teenage murder in Florida, it's one of the dreamiest of the Outer Heaven's ten tracks. Pulling no punches, Greys follow it up with "No Star," a brash rallying cry inspired by the Paris terror attacks of 2015 and one of the album's many highlights. The explosive "If It's All the Same to You" is another prime cut, with strong melodies and a killer chorus that displays the best of what Greys have to offer. While there's a rawness to the recordings, it's the band's craft and impression of unpredictability that give this record its feeling of immediacy. Greys feel risky and exciting in the way classic punk sometimes can, especially on "Complaint Rock" and "In for a Penny," a pair of tracks that wouldn't have been out of place on their debut. As far as sophomore efforts go, Greys have stepped up their game considerably. ~ Timothy Monger
Pitchfork (Website) - "OUTER HEAVEN marks a clean, abrupt break...not just by opening up greater spatial possibilities in the band's sound world, but by foregrounding a nakedly emotional tenor that permeates even the more typically ferocious tracks that follow."