Reviews: Gramercy Riffs It’s Heartbreak

Just when you think every good band name is taken and all that’s left is some hybrid of wolf or a double-hawk, you get an email from a band with a name that makes you smile from ear to ear. In this case, it’s a group of Newfs rocking a moniker borrowed from the baddest of all the New York gangs in the “shipwrecked on an island” worthy flick, The Warriors.

 

In reality though, if you had to pick a famous NY Riff to associate with the infectious boy/girl pop songs the band delivers, you’d probably chose the leader of The Jets instead of Cyrus or any of his crew, as the quintet is a bit of a throwback - blending 50′s pop and a lighthearted approach with a bit of punch - instead of gritty street jams. What makes the band stand out is how effortlessly the fuse familiar sounds into something fresh. The jangle guitar and strings that dance around the simple, timeless notion of holding hands on Hold My Hand are engaging, but it’s the confident build they add to the mix halfway through that really transform the song into something special. The heavy plucked bass, guitar blasts, xylophone and slinky traded vocals of Come Home Darlin’ seems as comfortable as your favorite sweater, but creeps into your brain on first listen.

 

Without question Gramercy Riffs take the most famous line from the 1979 gang flick to heart and “come out and playayayayyyyy” but there is enough depth and crunch to their recipe to keep you engaged. Sure, The Freezedown gets you up and dancing with big drum fills, horns and Strokes-y guitar riffs as does the unexpected powerful surge they deliver on the fuzz-filled Ambulance, but on touching tracks like Silent Walls And Siren Calls you feel the pulse of the band as they sing about the real pain of friends and lovers leaving their province for brighter lights and bigger dreams.

 

It’s Heartbreak is laced with songs about love, breaking up and moving away but even as they hit you with lines like, “love is nothing but a painful attempt to keep warm
that’s as far as it goes
“, never does the band come off as jaded or bitter. You feel like you know Mara and Lee every time they grab the mic, so you keep listening (especially when Mara moves up to the upper register and belts it out). It’s no secret that when it comes to great pop songs, traditional themes and emotions are usually the best and when it comes to the Riffs, it’s love that keeps them writing, just like it keeps a heart beating.

 

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MP3:: Gramercy Riffs - Silent Walls And Siren Calls

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MP3:: Gramercy Riffs - The Freezedown
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/gramercyriffsmusic

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 7:55 am and is filed under 2010, Canada, Music, Newfoundland, Reviews, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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One Response to “Reviews: Gramercy Riffs It’s Heartbreak”

The Blog for the Webzine | steelbananas(dot)com August 23rd, 2010 at 7:50 pm

[...] also giving away 8 copies of the Gramercy Riffs’ new album, It’s Heartbreak. As the pride of Newfoundland, it’s a show you definitely don’t want to miss. Just look [...]

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