With their humble roots set in friendly jam sessions, American post-rock band theLakeSuperior recorded their first three demos back in the spring of 2011. Just a year later, bolstered by their warm reception, the band took a new name, Grey Storia, and was ready to cut their first release. Those recordings later became their 2013 EP and debut, Martonic.
From the first moment, the album certainly feels like it was homegrown from informal, friendly improvisations. All of the songs have a loose, simplistic quality about them, making them feel warm and welcoming, like ephemeral pieces played over a friendly gathering. Whatever there is to be said for brevity, however, it's hard not to notice that Grey Storia's pieces are pitifully brief, especially by post-rock standards. Without being given the proper time to develop, each song feels like listening to short, discursive thought in lieu of a full piece, as if each track was cut off before it really began. While conciseness is not a vice in of itself, it does necessitate a certain compactness and density of substance, neither of which the band seems yet capable of providing.
But the biggest thing holding Grey Storia back is that they don't take any compositional risks. The music they've created doesn't do anything that feels remotely challenging the listener, and quickly becomes stale and predictable as such. The band sticks to well-trodden paths of form and melodic structure laid by their idols in Explosions in the Sky and sleepmakeswaves, but in refusing to even glimpse beyond those established borders, Grey Storia do themselves an immense disservice. It seems they're intentionally creating a manufactured product that's safe and sanitary beyond aesthetic objection, but in trying so hard to be inoffensive and sterile, they haven't actually made a statement worth hearing. Or, to be more precise, it' was a worthwhile, flyer observation uncountable hundreds of albums ago; by now, it's been tired and rehashed to the point of triteness.
Certainly, Martonic has superficially pleasant qualities about it. But the unfortunate truth is, lacking any true tenor or direction, the EP quickly becomes arid and vapid beyond interest. Though I have nothing incitant to say against the band themselves, Grey Storia would do well to bolster their musical affluence. They may have a clear understanding of their musical goals, but given their clear reluctance to explore regions untrodden, it's likewise clear that Martonic is a premature release.
Recommended if you like: Explosions in the Sky, sleepmakeswaves, the softer half of Cloudkicker
3.0 / 10
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