GREENMAILER - Greenmailer (Album)
Some bands seem to exist outside of the time and place that they exist in. Take GREENMAILER for example, their deep low-end rumble and scuzzy, fuzzy guitars could feasibly sit in pretty much in any era since the 1970s and the band are as equally likely to be from Seattle, Detroit or slap bang in the middle of Australia’s Great Sandy Desert as they are Swansea - where they actually call home. And yet they neither sound dated nor trying to be something they’re not. The whole album, in fact, sounds gloriously unforced.
The grunge influence is strong throughout and it has an organic, lo-fi quality, which isn’t as easy to pull off as it sounds. In fact, it almost has the feeling of one of Greg Dulli’s many side projects, without being derivative, again a neat trick to be able to do.
It is also a thoughtfully crafted album, largely a mid-tempo affair the band are smart enough to inject a little energy in songs like ‘Fluffer’ and ‘John Frum’ to keep the listener’s interest piqued, although they are brief intermissions, the former song soon morphs into an arms-aloft singalong and the latter into a long, slow Alice in Chains type grind.
This is not to say that the album is dull or lacks variety, there is a fresh breezy-ness to ‘Luluna’ that displays an unexpected lightness of touch and there’s a powerful intensity to ‘Morning Song’ that is difficult to ignore, however on a casual listen there is a danger that the songs could all bleed into each other a touch. Give it a few more spins though and the songs start to bury deep into your consciousness, you wouldn’t necessarily describe them as catchy, but they cling to you like creepers slowly enveloping you completely.
On first listen ‘Greenmailer’ doesn’t feel like it’s pulling up any trees, but it is certainly a grower not a show-er. Give it time and it reveals itself as an insidious little beast, each song lodging itself in your brain almost without you knowing how or when they got there. It is not an album that grabs you by the throat, or hits you in the gut, and it’s probably not the sort of album that will be making many end of the year lists but it certainly shouldn’t be dismissed for those reasons, instead it should be embraced for being an album that you feel is playing the long game. When other, more immediate albums have lost their lustre you feel ‘Greenmailer’ will still sound as good and as evergreen as it does today. Its timeless nature gives it a comforting feel; like an old friend, unchanging through good times or bad, but with a thrilling undercurrent of danger that never allows for complacency.
Ultimately ‘Greenmailer’ is a dark, brooding, sludgy little beauty of an album that is well worth the repeat listens it quietly demands.
Steve Ahearne – Guitar / Vocals
Mark Roberts – Bass / Vocals
Hywel Griffiths – Drums / Vocals
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