Album Review

Grom Warfare

Grom Warfare

by Beach Pigs

8 / 10
7th July 2014

Reviewed by Chris Familton

New Zealand has a knack for churning out skewed indie guitar-pop music. From the heyday of the Flying Nun roster through to modern day exponents like Popstrangers there is a unifying seam of bristling, effervescent melodies colliding at interesting angles with chaotic guitars and rhythms and Beach Pigs are another gem from the same goldmine.

The opener ‘Daydreamer’ sets the bar high and yet it is only one of many highlights scattered across Grom Warfare. The band’s strength is in the way they combine post-rock tonality with lush Byrdsian harmonies and the structural curiosity of a band like Pavement. The American indie act was always dripping in sarcasm and loaded barbs whereas Beach Pigs’ songwriting and musical intentions have an effortless and naive quality. They are clever and creative songwriters that dip their tracks in light psychedelia which gives the music its twists and turns. The hooks-on-overload catchiness of single ‘Night Surfing’, the Modest Mouse/Sparklehorse-styled avante-rock of closer ‘Heartbreaker (Ft Loki)' and ‘Mephodrone’s’ anglophile jerky power-pop, which threatens to hit the boosters and disappear into a krautrock jet-stream, all show there is youthful vigour and restless diversity in abundance.

A round of applause too for producer Bob Frisbee who, for two decades, has been creatively blending pop melodies with punk rock on the fringes of the mainstream New Zealand music scene. His recording and production is the perfect match for Beach Pigs who have released an outstanding debut album in Grom Warfare that puts them in the same league as Sharpie Crows, Mint Chicks and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

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