Great music, like love, is often found in the most random and mundane occurrences. In the case of the exceptional indie rock act Greylag, it was found under the dimly lit café lights at a local coffee house. While music is generally muted in the name of ambiance at these establishments, this particular evening the music cracked through the wall of monotony, piqued my interest, and ended up on my top albums of 2014 thanks to the help of every music lover’s favorite app, Shazam. Adding to the intrigue, a few days later I received an unsolicited email request to review the band. The musical fates had spoken.
There are few bands that fully epitomize the term “indie rock” quite as well as this Portland based three piece. Their self-titled debut was produced by Phil Ek who has worked with a slew of indie heavyweights including Modest Mouse, the Shins, and Band of Horses. While having a sound similar to these acts, Greylag elicits classic influences in the most refreshing of ways.
“Another” plays like a locomotive headed to the expansive refuge of the old west. The group shows flashes of Buckley and Zeppelin in this building album opener. “Yours to Shake”, the tune that instantly led me to love the band, is a favorite of NPR (check out their year end favorite songs, it will be worth your time) and uses fire imagery among an ominous electric guitar. This tune is definitely worth your time while “Arms Unknown” is a building track that calls for quiet fears and souls and sounds like a louder Fleet Foxes song. Their lyrics are written in a way that travels across the American landscape. From California rock, to Appalachian Americana, the band is a mixture of migrated souls who all have a hand in sculpting their sound. “Mama” is a perfect testament to this forceful confidence.
Great music, also like love, is meant to be shared. Greylag came to me through the random absurdities of life and did something, however small, to my demeanor. I happily share this experience with you with the confidence that it will do the same in you. If you like music, and believe in its often transcendent power, then Greylag will be a highly beneficial investment of your time.