Outer Heaven is a massive leap forward for Toronto post-punks Greys. Delivering on the promises made on 2015’s Repulsion EP, the band tempers their trademark onslaught of discordance with new textures and subtle dynamics, building a more spacious and melody-driven environment atop their noise rock foundation. They fearlessly explore every extreme, simultaneously delivering their most intense and accessible moments, often within the same song.
“We never want to do just one thing,” says frontman Shehzaad Jiwani. “We want to incorporate as many disparate sounds as possible, yet still have it sound like the same band.” This bold approach saw them return to Montreal to record at the hallowed Hotel 2 Tango studio (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) with longtime producer Mike Rocha, giving heavy hitters like “Blown Out” and first single “No Star” unprecedented atmospheric depth while never compromising the band’s characteristic cacophony.
The young quartet stretches its limbs like never before on more delicate tracks like “Erosion,” where Jiwani sings softly over Cam Graham’s delicate guitar, recalling the dream pop qualities of early Deerhunter or late-period Unwound. Elsewhere, on “Sorcerer,” bassist Colin Gillespie and drummer Braeden Craig launch an unrelenting yet hypnotic assault that falls somewhere between Sonic Youth and Portishead. With ten tracks at just under forty minutes, Greys raise the bar for what is expected of a punk band in the 21st century.