Tuesday 17th June 2014

A burst of synth, a piano streaming tears, a syncopated beat and a voice that invites you to "Taste Me"… Welcome to the world of Griefjoy and their first album. The record is ambitious, lyrical and proud, and ready to sketch out the occasional step on the dance floor. Griefjoy are four boys from the city of Nice in the South of France: Guillaume Ferran (vocals, piano), Billy Sueiro (guitar), David Spinelli (bass, synthesizer) and Romain Chazaut (drums). Together, they formed the band Quadricolor when they were in their teens. 

Exit Quadricolor. Enter Griefjoy. Although they have drawn a line under their past and are making a new start, the four still have the benefit of their experience, techniques and studio recording skills. And with the many gigs they have played over the years, they are perfectly at home on stage. Griefjoy have been together since they were very young, forming unbreakable bonds. Now they have recovered their creative appetites.

Griefjoy. They decided this was the best name to define a combination of two emotions you might think it impossible to experience simultaneously - until you listen to their music and the forty minutes of their first album. The record reconciles light and darkness, rock intensity and heady electro, smoke rings and right angles - all with equal success. It is an introduction to Griefjoy, aka the ice burn effect.

They began to explore music when they met, at a very early age. Then one day, they saw the light in rock. That devastating earthquake swept away everything in its path and guided them towards a perfect group chemistry. And never left them. The rock shock sealed their four-way partnership and they set out on their quest for the perfect tune as a group.

2013. Drawing on their various influences (rock, jazz, pop, electro, hip-hop, original soundtracks, etc.), Griefjoy have given us a first album of ten blinding songs. Although the first revelation that led them away from a more classic style was Radiohead’s “Street Spirit”, you will find no replications of Thom Yorke’s band here. Guillaume’s voice is clear and Griefjoy’s power rock is never pretentious or pompous, just amazingly mature for a group whose average age is 22.

“Touch Ground” sums up the hallowed unity that is Griefjoy’s goal: a dance beat, heady backing vocals and a tune that will keep you awake at night. Electro sometimes gains the upper hand - for instance, on “Insane” and its ultimate plunge into an acid rain of synth, or “People Screwed Up”, with its machine rollercoaster. Pop also takes a bow on the unstoppable “Kids Turn Around” and the soothing “Hold the Tides”. And finally, “Crimson Rose” brings together every shade on Griefjoy’s sound palette.

The music conceived on Guillaume’s piano is influenced by ambient and movie soundtracks. His keyboards add a solemnity to the band’s inspired rock, while the guitar fires lightning bolts from the sky, the beats build towering walls, and floods of synthesizer raise superb sonic cathedrals. The home-recorded songs were fine-tuned by producer Stéphane “Alf” Briat (Air, Phoenix, Etienne de Crécy, Jackson & his Computer Band, etc.), who enhanced their volume and amplitude.

Over the musical melancholy float words that dreams are made on. Griefjoy are an unusual band. They have always worked with Sylvain Autran, a virtual fifth shadow member who writes all their English lyrics. Contemplative white dreams go hand in hand with dark tides of sensation blending futuristic poetry and nostalgia, memories and wild visions: the infinite range of human emotion unfolds there, shaped by every possible concord and discord.

Griefjoy are experimental and classic rockers, energy-filled and soothing, urban and terribly human. They are more than willing to risk striking contrasts and put on high-wire acts with no safety net. Their music is ambitious like M83’s, intellectual like Radiohead’s, efficient like Metronomy’s, curious like PVT’s and solar like Caribou’s. The band reveal soaring aspirations, but avoid the pitfall of affectation. Familiar in its influences, yet still unknown and surprising: this is the world of Griefjoy.


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