Rickkert Reviews: Grayscale- Umbra

With “Nela Vita” being one of my favorite albums of 2019, I high expectations for Grayscales third studio album, and for the most part the bands seems to at least try to build of the sounds of “Nela Vita”, but do they pull it off?

Well, kind of, some songs on this album feel like “Nela Vita” B Sides, which sounds great on paper but also brings the problems for the album.

The 80s inspired tones of album opener “Without You” shows how the band has mostly shedded their pop punk roots, while poppy and sweet in sound, the sax on the track are a bit much. The second track “Dirty Bombs” shows that the band is going for pop rock in the style of acts like “The 1975” and “The Maine” on this record, and it does show some amazing hooks.

“Bad Love” feels like it really is a B-side to “Nela Vita” which isn’t bad, but it doesn’t break any new ground, a criticism that could be given to the album as a whole, but there are still some diamonds to be discovered. “Motown” isn’t that track, as the track doesn’t show much difference with “Bad Love” both instrumentally and lyrically.

On to one of the diamonds “Over Now” still doesn’t break any new ground, but the band does show their strength with their synth-rock style, Catchy and with amazing hooks. “Dreamcatcher” is unfortunately more of the same. Musically the band has nailed down their sound but after a couple of slower tracks I was really hoping for some heavier guitar work.

“Live Again” somewhat delivers on my wish for a little more tempo, but the vocals and the chorus keep the song in the balled category. “Carolina Skies” feels fresher with its snapping beats, vocal flow and synth-based sounds, but the chorus feels out of sync.

With all the tracks that are just ok, “King of Everything” stands out for me, as it has a darker vibe to it and finally goes for the louder guitars. Which, makes this one of my favorite songs on the album.

“Babylon ( Say It To My Face)” is a catchy tune and surely keeps stuck in your head, but also feels like the same trick again. Grayscale shows the have perfected this trick but a little change would be nice. With that being said I do like how energetic the chorus of the song feels.

Closing track “Light” finally brings the change I ask for, but in an unexpected way, the band ditches the synths of a lone piano, which gives the vocals their moment to shine, I will even go as far as saying that this is the strongest vocal performance of the album.

Lyrically and instrumentally “Grayscale” has perfected the sound the experimented with on “Nela Vita” but that also makes “Umbra” feel like “Nela Vita” part two. When they do it right its phenomenal but it also sometimes feels like more of the same. I would advise you to mix some tracks into your playlist and leave the album as a whole as it is. As the sound dulls with the same trick.

Tracks of “Umbra” you should check out

“Dirty Bombs”

“Bad Love”

“King of Everything”         

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