By Oliver Shasha
H.Grimace take to the stand as new single ‘She’s In A State’ puts the listener on trial in the court of post punk emotion. 2017 release ‘Self Architect’ initially helped establish the band’s sound as a volatile fusion of spiralling vocal dread mixed with an amalgamation of decaying guitar arrangements. Early highlight ‘2.1 Woman’ is an eloquent exploration of the female identity in modern society, translated through Hannah Gledhil’s vocal performance into a sumptuous wash of emotional bereavement and tragedy. A beautifully cold composition that exhausts the listener, ‘2.1 Woman’ snatches your soul and is reluctant to hand it back.
Conversely, in what is their first release of 2019, ‘She’s In A State’ is structurally balanced, both in sonic expression and emotional output, creating a more diverse as well as satisfying endeavour. Beginning with the guitars posing beneath the all too familiar gothic theme, the haunting combination of a dissonant female vocal melody and urgent tom grooves quickly construct the song into a very Kate Bush / Cocteau Twins sort of vibe. Where the song has moved forward from its predecessors though is in the next section. A major chord progression with jangly lead guitars create a blissful chorus section that more than compliment’s Gledhill’s vocal swells, transformed from a clutter of moody instrumentation into an emotional release that fits the song’s haunting backdrop extremely well. The continual dynamic between these two sections is then repeated, but despite the disparate emotional qualities of either side, these parts rarely feel unsettling or out of place. The cauldron of emotional uncertainty that boils within the verses, ensures that the choruses are melancholic and as digestible as possible. Night quickly becomes day, and the song navigates itself out of the dark and into the light. The middle eight that precedes the second chorus is the song at it’s most confrontational. Contrasting tones from verse and chorus give the listener the choice as to how the section is to be emotionally interpreted. It’s a real red pill or blue pill moment, before the final chorus takes us back to where we want to be.
Taking into account the eerie post punk backlog, H.Grimace have opened several new avenues of tone and character with ‘She’s In A State’, the compromise between emotional highs and lows contribute to a more complex narrative. Not too dissimilar from some notable Wolf Alice material, the absence of stability in the lyrics and the music lead to a more fluid dialogue between the artist and the listener, both parties simultaneously experiencing the song’s visceral journey. With ‘She’s In A State’ serving a short term on sale as a 7 inch vinyl, it may be wise to go and pick up a piece of what could be a serious turning point in the career of this promising band.
Listen to ‘She’s In A State’ here:
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Link to the 7″ here.