Grayscale return with their personal, fragile and liberating third album, Nella Vita
Grayscale have been on a triumphant surge through the competitive ranks of the alternative/pop-punk scene since they put out their first release all the way back in 2013. The Philadelphian 5-piece have cemented themselves to be some of the industry’s hottest property, so the anticipation surrounding their latest LP – to be delivered via Fearless Records – has continued to soar. Each Grayscale song that has been released to date has come with an increased maturity, so naturally, everyone is keen to find out just how far the band have grown with their latest record, Nella Vita.
The unenviable task of opening the album falls on Just Right. It is apparent, from the off, that this song is about a past relationship and a sense of longing and desperation to do anything to have it back. Surprisingly, despite the sensitive nature of the lyrics, the track is energetic and sets about trying to make an impact. The pulse of the song emphasises the importance of the subject matter of trying to resurrect and correct the juvenile first love and it does it very well. If this is the first Grayscale song you were to hear, you would be left impressed by its complexity. Baby Blue comes next and it arrives with a noticeably different vibe. It feels to be light-hearted and lucid – an offering that waves goodbye to a fleeting past relationship. These two opening songs showcase the different sides of the album as a whole, it delves deep to pull on your heartstrings, while also flippantly implying that things always get better.
The singles In Violet and Painkiller Weather do a fantastic job of encompassing the newly found confident and developed sound of Grayscale. In Violet has a brighter sound than anything the band have released up to this point, and this new vibe has seen to have excited fans. While lyrics such as “cry for me in colour, shower me in a lilac rain” are pretty and delicate, they continue to add to the overarching dark motifs of the album. Similarly, the immediate impression given off by Painkiller Weather is one of positivity, however, as you dig beneath the surface you realise the recurring brooding undertones. If you listen through the benevolence of the chorus, you will find a heartbreaking tale of a character in love with someone suffering from drug addiction. The balance on offer from these songs is exceptional, and they are both definite highlights.
The likes of Asbury and Tommy’s Song are slightly less unflinching in their approach. Asbury invites the listener into a dark space with its acoustic setup and tenderly delivered vocals. The narrative of this song tells a heart-wrenching tale of loss, death and letting go. Lines such as “and I’ll fall back into you like I always do” are simple and intimate, leaving the listener feeling compassion and relating to the hollowness of this very relatable emotion. This song will take its place on Grayscale’s setlist, and is sure to draw lighters from the pockets of audience members for years to come. Similarly, Tommy’s Song sets out to forge a connection with listeners. Its soft piano and vocals give it a warm feel, but as you come to expect by this point of the album, there is something deeper on offer when you scratch beneath the surface. This song – along with Old Friends – addresses the death of vocalist Collin Walsh’s cousin, and you get the feeling that the emotion poured into it acts as a therapeutic release.
I swear I heard your spirit saying, he promised me you’d found peace in your sleep.
While this album has introspective moments of beauty, there are also some slightly strange additions to the record, Twilight has a loose approach to its delivery and a flowing sound that eludes to the style that has been made popular by the likes of The Story So Far with their latest LP. However, in the context of Nella Vita it doesn’t feel to have the same wow-factor. With a collection of songs such as these, that – for the most part – are deep and inviting, Twilight and a couple of its peers just fall under the radar a little and leave the listener confused about why they are not being offered the same level of complexity seen by some of the incredible songs on this album.
The artwork of Nella Vita encompasses the liberating, yet fragile, aurora of Nella Vita very well. This album is littered with motifs of disintegrating relationships, drugs and death and it feels to be a confessional collection of dairy entries. Nearly every track is laced with emotions and sincerity, as the more you listen, the more layers are peeled away. The major takeaway from it is that lyrics on display throughout the record are near flawless, however, it does feel as though they supersede the music on offer on some occasions.
Catch Grayscale on tour with Real Friends across UK/EU:
17 – BRISTOL Thekla
18 – LONDON Electric Ballroom
20 – BIRMINGHAM Academy 2
21 – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
22 – LEEDS Stylus
23 – GLASGOW King Tuts
25 – MANCHESTER Club Academy
26 – SOUTHAMPTON The Loft
28 – HAMBURG Headcrash
29 – LEIPZIG Moritzbastei
31 – MUNICH Feierwerk
01 – COLOGNE Club Volta
02 – BRUSSELS AB Club
03 – EINDHOVEN Dynamo
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