Gray Matter


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After splitting into various other projects, including Three and Severin, the original Gray Matter lineup reconvened for one more album and another round of performing. Said album, Thog, found the group handling the recording itself this time around, and if the members were a touch older and wiser, they still had the energy to spare. Oddly enough, though, Turner's vocals at points sound like what would have happened if Tears for Fears became an American punk band of the '80s -- doubtless that was not the intent, but he has some of the same quavering passion of that band this time out. Musically, meanwhile, the foursome sound like they've relaxed a little bit, trying little detours into calmer arenas, taking stabs at brisk funk beats, and conveying singalong energy while still pulling out some solid punk rock jams, "Snare" being a good example of then-and-now fusion. "Song in Threes," possibly a tip of the hat to Turner's Three work, is one of the best, given a bit of a sea shanty feel and a lovely combination of restrained music and soft singing on the verse shifting into more intense, soaring feelings for the choruses. "October" isn't far off from that either, and if the members had continued to work together, seeing where they might have gone could have been intriguing indeed. There is one interesting nod to previous work, though -- once more the Beatles get covered, this time around the song of choice being "I've Just Seen a Face." Like the band's earlier version of "I Am the Walrus," Gray Matter up the speed and rip through it -- it's not as striking as that earlier take, sounding more like what many other punk bands would try, but it's still good fun.

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