Grivo: Elude (Holodeck Records, 2018)
A singular, ringing note rises into the speakers as guitar beings to strum and Elude, Grivo’s debut LP, begins. This is an album that channels languid tempos and breathy, long-syllabled vocals over glacial walls of sound. This nine-track inaugural album is the child of Timothy Heck (vocals/guitars), Matthew Heck (drums), and Ricardo Tejeda (bass) who bring a musical complexity to their compositions. The band inhabits the music rich city of Austin, adding another brilliant shoegaze band to that city’s rich roster. The trio craft hypnotic, sludge-laden arrangements that entrance and invite. Bright, glittering guitars play over deep, low-end dirges, creating a brilliant musical contrast that gives Grivo’s songs depth.
The intro to Elude is entitled “HDC” and it’s an opener that sets the tone for the rest of the sonic ride Grivo has planned for their listener. Dreamy and ephemeral, “HDC” channels a ghostly longing. “Render” beings sparse with toms and deep, careful bass laying the groundwork. Guitars wash over the sonic subfloor as reverb drenched vocals float. The band isn’t just huge though. They play with dynamics, allowing the walls to drop and have singular, exposed guitar play. And, I have to say, the guitar tones in this track are just exquisite. Every compositional choice is electric. “Burnout” is the first single released from the album and it is beautiful. The tempo slows down even more here as guitars breath in the quiet spaces, bass works to create a beautifully composed subfloor, and the percussion is just perfectly arranged. The entire piece is careful including the smoky vocals.
“Opia” plays with the dynamics in another direction. Pauses are filled with screeching guitar and erupting walls of sound that blast into the speakers. For me, “Opia” is the heartbeat of the album: explosive, dynamic, and rife with tension. “Cave” doesn’t let up as the sludgegaze piece prickles with slightly fuzzed out bass. “Cave” trails along, stringing the listener on a spellbinding sonic experience. There is a longing here and a feel of sweet desperation. “Sonder” completes the central movement of the album beginning with a picked acoustic guitar and ambient textures. Electric guitar accents the soundscape and then, at about 2:16, the guitars explode into a giant, aggressive wall. Brittle edges coat the blast and then they fade back into the quiet of the acoustic guitar as this instrumental piece goes dark.
Entering the third movement of the album brings with it even more brilliance. “C.A.” takes the element of prior songs and really boils them down into this one track. Quieter moments mixed with volcanic guitar walls with glistening centers dot this slow, careful song. “Elude” slinks along with an ominous tone, really playing the minor-chords to their darkest extreme. “Elude” evokes a dream state, a floating, cloudlike moment in one’s darkest memories. The finale to the album is entitled “Room” and it begins with sparse, reverb laden guitar. It is a swan song with sonic cloudbursts and overflowing rumbling bass. It pulsates, thudding like a dirge that soars into the stratosphere. The ending is perfection, glittering, tense, floating, and yearning.
Grivo’s debut album Elude is an instant shoegaze classic. The careful compositions prove that the band, at its core, writes great songs and, with their sonic choices, have created a slow-moving masterpiece. Glacial, serene, tense, explosive, and ghostly, Elude brings to the table a complexity that few three piece bands can. People, this is most certainly a top ten album for 2018 at this point. Grivo’s Elude will be out on November 16th on vinyl, cassette, and digital via Holodeck Records. I highly recommend you get yourself a copy.
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