Greylag’s debut album knows its influences and wears them on its sleeve. Hailing from Portland, Oregon the band has a love of some of the most prominent American melodic guitar based pop folk, both old and new. This first record has nine tracks and some of it is stonking, while some is too much a direct copy of the blueprint of what this music is and where it has come from.
A peace and passion pervades some of the tracks and its gently uplifting and quietly soulful. It’s quite safe though, for example on penultimate track ‘One Foot’ in which it feels like the song should totally take off, it feels like it builds and doesn’t leave the launch pad. It’s just lacking that final kick in the teeth to properly leave its mark, to make you come back for more over and again.
So, the question is how to stand out from the crowd. Maybe many acts are happy to reside on the margins, making the music that comes naturally and maybe for others it is molded in an attempt to sell records, but there is a sea of songs and artists and everyone wants to be heard. There is something here, but it doesn’t quite demand the attention it might like to. The songs are good, not great.
Greylag is another case of perhaps needing to be braver and not just use its influences (that all seem to come from a similar cloth), but to open up its mind and truly explore beyond the frontiers of what music can be. Not a disappointment, but nor is it an album to write home about. The second long player will either make or break the act. In the meantime, perhaps you can see for yourself if there is enough here to awaken your interest, given some of the classic American music that fuelled this fire.