Through their debut and self-titled EP Grimm Winter, the band is tackling a range of topics and themes. From self-worth to love and the toll time takes on everything, the band let out their frustrations and emotions in a rather cathartic way. Using a backdrop of the wilderness and urban environments, they fill you with relatable landscapes and emotions while helping you let loose.
Grimm Winter came together as a demo project during the pandemic. Casey Paul (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Jay Besch (vocals, bass, keys) and Scott Barrett (drums) recorded and produced their debut remotely. Recording in their homes before mixing everything together online, they show a passion for what they do and it really shows in the emotive hits that roll off the tracks.
The EP opens with ‘November Midnight’ and an infectious guitar line. The movement of the melody has your head moving to it with its rather interesting stop-start vibe. The vocals are a smooth layer resting over the melody. While you are caught by the pulse of guitars, there is a drop to softness before you are thrown back into the forward movement. As you move to the melody, the lyrics have an equally interesting story of yearning, pleading and underhanded tactics. There is a lot of control in the track from the arrangement of the melody to the rise and fall of the vocals which is wonderful to hear.
‘Persephone’ grabs you in a different way to the opening track. The lyrics are descriptive and you can easily see the story play out in your mind. There is a bounce to the melody that makes you think this might be a happy track, but there is a seriously dark vibe to the lyrics. It is an interesting contrast of affection and love mixed with death and darkness. The combination of these contrasting themes and emotions has been handled with perfection making this track too engaging for its own good. You are going to want to listen to the track again and again to get the full effect.
The acoustic sounds of ‘American Romulus’ is a delightful diversion from the heavier tones of the last tracks. The rather stripped-back opening brings an earthy and grounded feeling to the song that is enhanced by the tender touch of the vocals. The harmonising and backing vocals create a softness to the song that is picked up by the harmonica. Overall, this is a very gentle and touching song that makes you smile. As with the other tracks, there is an interesting interplay in the lyrics that brings light against dark.
The bouncing rock tones make a comeback with ‘Ship of Theseus’ which has your foot tapping to the rhythm. The vocals have a deeper feeling on this track as you are drawn into an epic tale and twirling contemplations. This song continues to draw on mythology for the lyrics which is really great, but you don’t really need to know the stories to get into the songs. The tales have been artfully woven into the thoughts of the track in a way that you can connect with them. There is a lot of poetic imagery in this song that works wonderfully with the jangle of the guitars.
The next track is ‘Cherry Street’ which brings a more modern feeling to the track while also touching on a hint of nostalgia. The guitars bring a blast of the past to your brain while the beats are all contemporary vibes. There is a wistful feeling to the vocals as you delve into memories of times long past. The piano line that delicately sparkles over the guitar lightens the feeling of the single as you work through the memories and the bittersweet emotions they invoke.
‘Tongue-Cut Sparrow’ has you riding some acoustic tones again with a muted darkness in the opening. The thumping beats bring an almost ominous vibe to the music that makes you feel like something is creeping around. The softer vocals add to this feeling as they whisper to you. While the beats are somewhat ominous, the lyrics bring an ambiguity to the song. The lyrics can easily be taken as reassuring as they tell you someone is always here for you, but they could also somewhat threatening. This contrast of meaning is wonderful and lets you take the song in any way you want.
The EP comes to a close with ‘The Indigo League Always Collects’ and its rather sombre vibes. There is a deep sadness resting in the acoustic guitar that is bolstered by the vocals. This song is all bittersweet emotions of loss and knowing that the loss might actually be good for you. The sadness of the single is there in the guitar while the sparkling tones of the keys bring a bright flitter of happiness.
Grimm Winter throws you into contrasting emotions with the constant swirl of light and dark in their self-titled debut EP Grimm Winter. Each song has a distinctly different vibe while delving into different aspects of the light and dark of life. There is a wonderful passion in each song as the band tugs at your heart and allows you to come to your own conclusions regarding what each song is really about.