Grayscale combines angst and pop to churn out an alt-punk blend. The Philadelphia band is accessible enough to appeal to the casual alternative rock fan, while also pulling strong from the pop punk crowd. Grayscale is currently supporting pop punk heavyweights Four Year Strong on their 10 year anniversary tour.
The band recently went on their first full US tour earlier this year in support of their second full-length album “Adornment.” The album features bouncy songs like “Atlantic” and “If I Ever See You Again” alongside moody tracks like the acoustic “Forever Yours” and “Fever Dream.”
“If I Ever See You Again” is an upbeat break-up song. That sounds like an oxymoron, but vocalist Collin Walsh sings of an ex who’s a distant memory. “I was alone adrift/Now I can’t be more over it/If I ever see you again/I’d ask for my time back,” he sings over the cheery guitar riff courtesy of guitarist Andrew Kyne.
Walsh’s poetic and honest lyrics make Grayscale stand out. “Atlantic” details the desire to escape from the ordinary and start something new. It’s optimistic, but details the fear one can feel trying something new. “I’ll burn down this bridge/And set my life up in smoke,” Walsh sings in the pre-chorus.
“Fever Dream” shows a more melancholy side of the band. Walsh told Paste Magazine the song was inspired by “fever dreams” he would have after not getting enough sleep and using sleep aids. Walsh said in one specific dream, he was calling out the name of a loved one but couldn’t get [his or her] attention. Eventually, he was led to a lake. “The dream concluded in someone/something convincing me that the person I loved was at the bottom [of the lake], and that if I end[ed] my life by drowning, [he or she] and I could start over,” Walsh told Paste.
“Irish Curtains” is one of the darkest songs by the band. From their album “What We’re Missing,” the lyrics discuss addiction and suicide. The title itself may be a reference to the traditional Irish practice of drawing curtains on a house when a funeral procession is passing. The song is repetitive, with little structure. There’s isn’t a chorus, just variations of three verses. “Suicide won’t fix any of this/Put down the knife and wash your hands,” Walsh sings chillingly over downtempo guitar.
In spite of the musical and lyrical heaviness of some of their songs, Grayscale is known for their carefree songs. The band’s most popular song “Palette” is representative of the catchy pop punk side of their sound. The song recently broke one million streams on Spotify and the band celebrated by tweeting videos of themselves dancing and throwing around Keebler sandwich crackers to Lil Wayne’s “A Milli.”
On the most recent volume of the compilation album “Punk Goes Pop,” Grayscale covered “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber. It’s one of the standout tracks on the compilation. There’s something incredibly satisfying about hearing the smash hit redone with power chords and Walsh’s angsty vocals.
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Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.