The Gray Company: Island Fortress, Island Home

The Gray CompanyThe Gray Company have an inviting and upbeat vibe, somewhere between the likes of Ava Luna and Pinegrove. Their debut EP, Island Fortress, Island Home, is the first proper release by the band, among bedroom demos and live recordings. While not entirely new, it is a promising step forward for a burgeoning indie rock band.

Producer Adam Cichocki makes the record sound authentic without becoming tacky. Between warm, dusty crackles and falling rain, he adds a lot of atmosphere to the record, making for an enveloping, life-like listen. Vocalist Zebeeb Awalom is a striking talent, complementing simple, immutable human truths with gorgeous, flowing melodies. On “This Old House,” Awalom romanticizes a relationship: “We never met/ but I can bet you/ learned the lullaby/ of creaky wooden floors.”

“Landlocked” is a real standout as the closer, lyrically recalling the EP title with power and emotion: “In my head I’m all alone/ Island fortress, island home.” An unexpected minor switch in the melody makes it an attention-grabbing listen amid time changes, clean guitar picking, and Josh Howard’s diverse and building percussion parts.

Ultimately, it’s The Gray Company’s ability to successfully combine their individual talents that makes Island Fortress, Island Home a comfortable escape for the introspective listener.

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This review first appeared in Issue 05