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In the four and a half years between albums, Adelaide’s Grenadiers have been through the ringer more times than a band deserves, hitting Chumbawamba-level proportions of getting knocked down and getting back up again. Vocalist and guitarist Jesse Coulter found himself the only remaining member of the band, leaving him to rebuild from the ground up.
With the release of Summer, Coulter and co have not only launched themselves back into the stratosphere with a vengeance, they’ve also managed to surpass their previous work entirely.
?At their core, Grenadiers are too much of a rock band for punk, yet too influenced by punk to be classified as strictly rock. While this would leave a lesser band in some kind of limbo, Grenadiers have made it one of their strengths, allowing them to absorb the best of both worlds and deliver a sound that belongs to them.
The opening one-two combo of the title track and Factotum is the best evidence of this. The former rides the wave of a soured surf-rock beat, matching up with snarling guitar and a chorus that is less sing-along and more shout-along.
The latter busily sets to work on one of the toughest riffs the band have ever put their name to and dusting their hands clean in under two minutes flat. It’s short, it’s loud and it’s got all the subtlety of a swinging hammer.
Of course, it’s not all wham, bam, thank you ma’am. The middle of the record gives way to some slower, more drawn-out moments which allow the trio to play around with their dynamics and arrangements, drawing attention to what’s not being played. Stay Inside is a clever script flip on the conventions of most meat-and-potatoes pub-rock bands, revealing brains to match Grenadiers’ brawn.
There’s a moment on Factotum where every instrument is choked, and Coulter sings without any accompaniment. “I want to burn my bridges down,” he seethes. “I want to sing my own songs.” It’s this defiant statement of intent that perhaps sums up Summer best. It’s a record with a fighter’s spirit.
Grenadiers’ ‘Summer’ is available now
Watch: Grenadiers – Summer