TULLE COLLECTIVE 9th Sept, 2022
Grave Goods have pedigree, with members drawn from PINS, Girls Names and September Girls and have the flavour of the year – spoken vocals – which is a bit strange, as they wrote these pieces pre-pandemic. This, their debut album, has two singles bookending it – the hectic ‘Come’ opening it, all punky guitars and rattling drums, while ‘Die’ is the new single. ‘Die’ is dark, but then the rest of the album is too, with an existential message – no time to lose, make your own meaning, there is no external meaning to anything. Celebrate the ephemerality of life because if not now, when?
You see, Lois Macdonald is obsessed with Sartre: “It’s my bible. It summarises our existence. It is everything and nothing.” She writes the words, presents them in a flat tone and plays spiky guitar. Living in different countries, the other two and she meet only a few times a year. It seems to work for them and the hidden set of seismic blasts and constant needling guitar work really well as a formula.
The band call this an album but others might call it an EP. There are 7 tracks fitted into 22 minutes and it is refreshing to get enough music to excite without an excess to enervate. Sarah Grimes moves between ticking beats, rattling rolls and steady bass kick-drum, while Phil Quinn’s bass is just enough, leaving the other two more prominent, excepting the rubbery underpinning of ‘Story’ which complements the slightly Keith Levene-ish shattered guitar, hinting at early PIL. Lois’ charging guitar blasts recall the post-punk assaults of The Gang Of Four. Tracks like ‘Miles’ are a little more predictable, catching that rolling Fall-ish sound that is too prevalent right now, though the lyrics are laconically engaging & ear-wormish. Not to worry, the next piece (‘None’) is back to spikey post-punk with counter-textual drums and scrubbed shoegaze guitar.
The result is a tight package with just the right amount of deadly serious music, polished up into an alienated slice of provocative ideas and spiky sounds.