Grey Hairs, a dark post-punk four piece from Nottingham, return with their third album on Gringo Records. Health & Social Care is full of pulsating drums and bass, spikey guitars and pissed off vocals, instantly drawing comparison to The Jesus Lizard, The Birthday Party and Les Savy Fav. The Jesus Lizard influence is apparent throughout. They share the same kind of reverb heavy, yet spikey guitar sound of Duane Denison. This is particularly noticeable on the truly evil sounding motoric opener ‘Hydropona’ and ‘Capable Man’.
‘Piss Transgressor’ blasts off from some nasty feedback with a monstrous riff intro and a great descending guitar and bass line.
The verses have a McClusky-esque feel and they even make time for a short, ripping guitar solo. The drums, as they are throughout the album, are powerful but unfussy, driving a pulse right through the song. ‘Ghost In Your Own Life’has a similar rasping vocal power to Brighton favourites Lower Slaughter at points. At others they complement this with backing vocals that recall some of Les Savy Fav’s best work.
‘Tail To Teeth’ also recalls some of the quieter work on Les Savy Fav’s “Let’s Stay Friends”. This is owing to its high pitched singing and more expansive approach.
Single “Tory Nurse” is hinged on a sinister repeated chord line, with a quite/loud/quiet/loud approach. It provides perhaps the most interesting vocal performance of the set. Veering between Kevin Rowland wobbly yelps and Cedric Bixler-Zavala screams. They then cut between Birthday Party post-punk verses and huge post-hardcore choruses on ‘Breathing In Breathing Out’. With a great lolloping bass line and delicate guitars, it introduces keyboard twinkles at the end.
Kernels Of Eyes is perhaps the highlight here.
It has an atmosphere and tension akin to the Birthday Party’s “Nick The Stripper”. The crunching bass and guitar stabs would have fit nicely on The Jesus Lizard’s “Goat”. Aptly, the vocals here also channel the spit and thrust of David Yow.
Grey Hairs have put together a fine album. If you are a fan of the now defunct bands we have mentioned throughout this article Grey Hairs may be the band for you.
You may enjoy this if you like: The Jesus Lizard, Les Savy Fav, The Birthday Party, McClusky, Lower Slaughter, At The Drive-In, Fugazi
Health and Social Care is released on 2nd August.Order here:http://gringorecords.limitedrun.com/products/644466-grey-hairs-health-social-care