This is a review of "On EP" recorded by Graceadelica. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2004.
Here are six recorded songs from a Halifax band with the same name as a tune by muso wonderbillies Dark Star. I loved Dark Star at the time, and I often think how sad it was that they didn't manage to stick themselves on the slippery hoarding that is popular acclaim. Fearsomely agile musicianship and cracking tunes are never enough. As often as not they're a hindrance.
Graceadelica don’t take the risk. They are good enough to pass muster, but not so accomplished that anyone need feel humbled in their presence. They play their interesting tunes with respectable competence and no showing off. At least two of the tunes have real promise "Again" and "Release" have guitar bits that attract attention, standing heads-up above the simple four four rock wallpaper that provides the staple for most of the rest of the EP. A very plain bass keeps close to root notes and well away from any embellishments or innovations. There are additional keyboard parts here and there. The vocals are anonymous but workmanlike.
I confess to raised eyebrows at "Again", where a singing guitar reminds me of Leeds' talented under-achievers Orka. This pretty song is poppier than the others and suggests that Graceadelica have got plenty of scope development.
Lyrics are in the style of "I never knew your face / Say "Goodbye" without a trace". Best not probe too deeply. I was glancing at some Metallica lyrics this afternoon – and boiled tripe doesn’t seem to have done them any harm. More seriously, all the songs might benefit from editing down – there really are too many repeated bars dulling the edge of some fairly good musical ideas. In "Release", for example there's a good introductory guitar line that goes eight bars before being joined by bass and drums for another eight bars of the same. And only then, more than half a minute in, the voice appears with grim predictability. The whole idea recurs at intervals through the four minutes 35 of the song. I know loads of other bands do it. Maybe they shouldn't.
Closing track "Losing the Threads" has an Adam Nutter kind of intro. It sets itself up as an instrumental showcase – with plenty of enthusiasm and a good band feel. But as the credits roll over the cgi cohorts in the Final Battle of Rock this kind of pretty good stuff looks a lot like orc number 3,452. Blink, and you'll miss it in the crowd. Some doubled up guitar and extra bashing drums get the excitement going. But it’s still Rock Skool rather than Master Class.