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coverpic flag US - Oregon - Full Moon 223 - 11/06/14

Dead Oceans

Named after the wild greylag goose, the band Greylag are high-flying this Autumn with their self-titled debut album filled with airy, spirited, groovy and chilled folk-rock recalling Led Zeppelin and other extinct dino-bands of the 1970s (well, Led Zep keep on putting out their re-mastered, extended albums as luxury packs as we speak, and it seems the band never goes out of fashion and style of rock'n'roll). Nevertheless, Greylag for sure is the sound of rock anno 2014.

The Portland-based trio (with members hailing from three different states) is Messrs Andrew Stonestreet (lead vocal, acoustic guitar -- Stonestreet's originally from West Virginia), Daniel Dixon (lead guitar as well as other stringed things, plus keyboards -- Dixon is from Northern California) and Brady Swan (drums -- Swan is a Texan). Greylag is produced by Phil Ek, who's previously worked with bands like Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Modest Mouse and The Shins. Yes, imagine a mixture of Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes, and you have a couple of names from the contemporary 'modern rock' vein to file Greylag along with. You could mention Grand Archives as well. The fabulous label Dead Oceans claim the outcome of Greylag's music (plus Ek's input, as well as the atmosphere of Seattle's Avast! Studio) to be '...a sublime enterprising combination of roots and rock music...'.

The Greylag album is a highly efficient, nicely created and well-performed one, holding nine songs done in less than 37 minutes. It is a neat treat, from the opening, LedZepesque "Another" (hey, "Mama" is another Zep-styled track), through the excellent and punchy "Yours to Shake" and the catchy "Arms Unknown", via the swirling song "Kicking", and the sparkling, flaming ballad "Burn On" (which also, along with "Black Sky", gaze down the Led Zep alley), all the way to the quiet closing track, and yet another blue-toned ballad, "Walk the Night".

The moods and grooves of Greylag are of the soothing, calming kind. This is the good old rootsy folk rock which makes the sun shine a bit longer, even if the harsh autumn has long since arrived. Time spent with Greylag's debut (which is their first proper recording as a band. Greylag's debut EP, the seven-track long The Only Way To Kill You, released by the Ninth Street Opus label in 2012 is only some ten minutes shorter than this full album) is well worth several spins and repeats. It is a swell time! Dead Oceans describe it being '...a self-titled debut album that's the latest must-have slice of verdant, far-reaching Americana. Greylag is rich in melody, mood and detail...', and they continue telling Greylag (and their Greylag) to be '...a journey, a quest, a sublime new band and debut album. All indeed is not lost, but found.'. The label finally states (on the band's name): ''s a wild goose, from which all domestic geese originate, so it's the first survivor, and it's still wild, and doing things its own way - the 'lag' part refers to it being the last bird to migrate. It sits back and watches. We love the connotation...'.

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