Fiery guitars and southern-style beats are something of a commodity to the mainstream pop consumer these days, but for those of us who live on the left side of the dial, they’re hard to ignore when they’re being played by a band as talented as Greye are.
Greye have been making rock their business for years now, lighting up an otherwise dismal Florida scene that hasn’t done much for anyone outside of the insular hip-hop underground in recent memory, and their latest album So Far So Good picks up right where their lauded 2019 effort Under the Weather left off. In So Far So Good’s best tracks, like “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” and “I Don’t Mind,” the tonality of the instrumentation is put on an equal plane of existence with the lyricism, frequently leaving our singer to battle it out with her instrumental counterparts in a quest for the lion’s share of our attention. The forced sonic sparring doesn’t lead to unevenness in the performing, however, as it soon becomes impossible for even the most discriminating of critics to deny how well these players gel together – particularly when they’re competing for the limelight. From “End of the Line” to “Burn” and leadoff single “Lucky,” this is a rocker’s delight unsaddled with the burden of fitting into a mainstream-approved shell.
“Lucky” hit record store shelves as a single a little earlier this spring, and spending even a cursory listening session with the song indicates why it was likely chosen for the task of promoting its parent album. The vocal, the swing of the guitars, even the pristine punchiness of the drums speak to the core values this band is all about, while other deep cuts like “Over My Head” and “Growing Pains” tell us a different story of their future ambitions. There’s a lot of duality to the bigger picture in this LP, starting with the underlying emotional themes tying all of the different songs here together. We’re constantly faced with lyrical references to longing for something that we just can’t acquire – chasing something if you will, that cannot be caught. The anguish this yields isn’t left without purpose but made into the launchpad for every rocketing riff we find between the title cut and other performances like “Play God” and the previously mentioned “End of the Line.”
So Far, So Good explores the uncertainty of life and the importance of living in the present. In the music industry, as with most other avenues of life, nothing is ever guaranteed, but instead of allowing ourselves to be destroyed by the pains of the past or frightened by the endless possibilities of the future, we should instead appreciate simply getting to make the journey.
Greye have done a lot in their career together, but if you were getting the idea that their campaign was soon to slow – or that their traveling rock n’ roll showcase was about to shutter – So Far So Good will do a terrific job of putting you and every other critic in their place. Tracks like “Come and Get Me,” “I Don’t Mind,” and “Lucky” don’t ask for us to sit down and pay attention to the aesthetical details they contain just to bask in the swell of ridiculous sonic virtuosity; they smash us in the face with adrenaline and affection for the standards hard rock’s elite used to hold on a universal level. They make me believe in this genre’s viability post-COVID, and I think I’m not the only one who will say so thanks to So Far So Good.