This is a review of "New Franchise" recorded by Grammatics. The review was written by Alexander Rennie in 2008.
Punchy. Bleepy. Dark. Literate. A call to arms for the under-represented of Leeds pop's moodier and, dare I say, disenfranchised elements. This new single from the Grammatics is much that our city's recent higher profile contributions have not been: difficult, unimmediate, deep and yet ever so slightly compelling. We all know that these guys are taught and angular; you don't need to witness their wiry coil-sprung live show to know that.
However, this record conveys the impression that they are as much driven by diverse ideas as a blind quest for pop success. That's not to say that music such as this is without commercial potential. There's a relentless rhythm to the main body of this tune, driven along by choppy percussion and always-intelligible vocals. Swirling keyboards and - later on - choral harmonics do no harm either; this disc is truly listenable from start to finish.
Once upon a time hearing mention of the Grammatics, though, would simply have been to put one in mind of "that band with a cello" (not that it was a gimmick as such, but it did seem to be what set them apart). Whilst they now have a new cellist following the departure of the former incumbent, anyone introduced to the band's efforts through this single is unlikely to think they've found some sort of Du Pre / indie crossover. It may not become a dancefloor filler but nor is it likely to have anyone carefully analysing time signatures (or, worse still, nodding off).
There's a depth here beyond basic pretension, and earnestness beyond mere ambition to be noticed. That doesn't, however, render it any less than an impressive piece of well-crafted literate pop-rock. Grammatics deserve every shred of the attention that they have garnered. What we need now is a well-crafted essay, in the form of the rumoured forthcoming LP, to allow these odd well-punctuated sentences to develop a fuller musical breadth of expression.