Grey Hairs - Health & Social Care - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Grey Hairs - Health & Social Care

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2019-08-02
Grey Hairs - Health & Social Care
Grey Hairs - Health & Social Care

 Health & Social Care is Grey Hairs' third album. It was recorded in their home town of Nottingham and attempts to answer the question 'how can someone be a public sector punk in 2019?', as life and age make demands on your creative time.

Opening track Hydropona slowly crackles into life and discordant guitar begins to rain down on us before Amy (bass), Dave (drums) and Chris (guitar) hit a one-chord groove and the song bursts into life. It's discordant Noise-Punk like The Jesus Lizard but also like current bands like Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and Hey Colossus. Hydropona also has odd catchy moments as vocalist James pulls hooks out of the dirge. Piss Transgressor starts out rowdy but also has a neat Post-Punk verse that leads us into the riffs and yelling of the chorus. Again, it is both discordant and catchy - it's a nice trick. A dirty bass riff kicks off Ghost In Your Own Life before the rest of the band come in. This track is more reminiscent of Bleach-era Nirvana. Amy and James trade vocals on what appears to be a song about a relationship that has a few years on the meter. There's a whiff of The Birthday Party about Capable Man but rather than the snotty, arrogance of the young Nick Cave you get James, bruised and battered by life and age but still standing strong. The raging ceases briefly for Tail To Teeth which is an odd little pop song with a falsetto vocal and handclaps. Obviously, Grey Hairs are too weird-sounding to make proper pop but it's a nice change of pace and another torrent of smart lyrics. The pace stays lighter for Tory Nurse which lands somewhere between Pixies and American New Wave of the early 80s. Like a lot of the songs on this album, it's strangely hooky. Breathing In, Breathing Out is a cracking song - heavy chords crash down as James goes from falsetto to a yell as he negotiates his way through another strong lyric. The coda is even better with almost jazzy fuzz bass and Tom Verlaine-like guitar lines. The neat guitar-playing continues on Kernels Of Eyes. The song shows off everything that Grey Hairs are good at - noisy attacks, discordant lines, great lyrics and the odd moment of total pop, especially in some of the vocal melodies. The Nag is a straight punk banger and Grey Hairs just floor it to the end. It's the shortest track on the album, has the most basic structure and these decisions serve the song very well. Glugs is the last track on the album. It meanders, it rages, it growls and sometimes it bangs. All-in-all a fitting end to an album that does all those things.

Three albums in and I'm clearly a little late to this party but, in my view, Grey Hairs are another addition to the list of great, noisy bands that seem to be hitting their stride at the point when other bands give up and settle down to quiet lives. The second decade of the 21st century has brought many fine albums from Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Hey Colossus and Gnod; and Health & Social Care belongs in that list too. It's noisy, it's smart, it's heartfelt, it's catchy, it engages on many levels. The world's clearly fucked but, musically, what a time to be alive.

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Cracking review! The first 2 albums are ace too

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