Website: The Grates
The Inside Pulse:
The Grates out of Australia bring their girl-powered garage rock to the table with Gravity Won’t Get You High. Pulling stylistically from all over the map to create a sound that is hard to put your finger on, The Grates use and abuse everything from piano to banjo, punk to waltz, screaming and crooning. Yet somehow, they do pull it all together and keep it from sounding chaotic and without identity. It may the be the first album you have ever heard that makes you say, “this is interesting” without using the phrase as a gentle way of saying “this sucks.”
Positives: It’s the variety on Gravity Won’t Get You High that keeps it listenable. Or maybe it’s the short song lengths; when getting eclectic, that’s helpful. Perhaps it’s some smart, cheeky tunes like “19 20 20” and “Inside Outside” that are distinctive and memorable. It could also just be the versatile and creative vocals of singer Patience Hodgson. Whatever your poison, it’s, well, interesting.
Negatives: It’s not so much that it’s all over the map as The Grates fail to create a real identity for themselves. Gravity Won’t Get You High, in all its diversity, is a great concept; but when all is said and done, when you walk away, there’s no appeal to return. Their catchier moments and girl power were done better in the ’90s alt rock universe. What’s left is novelty.
Cross-breed: A little Joan Jett, a little Sonic Youth, a little Tracy Bonham, a little Breeders… insert more gregarious female rockers here and stir.
Reason To Buy: If you really dig female alterna-rock or something offbeat and non-bland, Gravity WOn’t Get You High isn’t a bad album. Not recommended as a casual purchase but moreso as something to pick up if truly interested.