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19-20-20 by The Grates

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Reviewed on 24th June 2006.



By The Grates

The Grates are a difficult band for a young man such as myself to review. Having seen them live I am aware of something which cannot fail to cloud my judgement of their latest record. Basically... well... Patience Hodgson is an undeniably, unbelievably attractive woman. She is the classic quirky rock chick, every shoe-gazing indie boys dream. She is, in a word, perfect. She also possesses a stage presence and charisma which draws you in to the point that you forget she's part of a band and might as well be doing karaoke. But a band she is in and it would be unfair to imply that guitarist John Patterson and the wonderfully named drummer Alana Skyring don't contribute to the delightful sound that this Australian three piece produces.

Their latest single, 19-20-20, is a fine example of what they're all about. Patterson's crunchy guitar riffs are complimented by sparse out-bursts of brass and a highly danceable, toe-tapping drum beat, but they produce a vaguely countrified sound that owes as much to Johnny Cash as it does the White Stripes, despite having a more obvious and much less dark sense of humour than Mr Cash's music possessed. They also bring something to their music which is all too often missing in today's overly earnest guitar scene- fun. You can't help but smile as Skyring thumps her bass and snare with a child like glee while hooks are battered out left right and centre. All the while Hodgson squawks and croons along like an antipodean Karen O, played for laughs and with all the 'New Yark' pretension stripped away. The smile spreads as she sings "My baby's off shooting tigers, my baby's such a liar!" It's almost sexual as she squeals "Grrr, Grrr" into the microphone and you know that her baby is one lucky man.

As much as like '19-20-20' I don't think that it's their strongest song. However, I do feel that with a little airplay on the right stations it could be a real break-through record for them. The snappy sing-along lyrics and fun-time guitars are perfect for BBQ's in the garden and sweaty Friday nights down the Cockpit alike. However, it's live that you get the full 'Grates' experience. Only then can you appreciate the party atmosphere that their music creates and the pure charisma that Hodgson's performances generate. Now, does anyone know if she's single...



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On 1st July 2006 at 12:43 Anonymous 3468 wrote...

I've just listened to this song and it sounds like they're just making it up as they go along. Not in a bad way though.



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