Philly Natives Claim Their Spot In Pop-Punk

Natalie Dest, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Philly natives Grayscale return to the pop-punk music scene with sophomore album “Adornment.”Recent Fearless Records’ addition, Grayscale, has returned to the music scene with a record that executes confident charisma, maturity and one of high anticipation. The Philadelphia pop-punk natives’ sophomore album “Adornment” has reached new heights for the group and is a clear showcase of the band’s development.

On the surface, “Adornment” is a pop-punk formula that is built upon electric, commanding riffs, catchy hooks and a newfound aggression. But on a deeper level, it is one filled with stories both personal and universal. With musical instrumentation just as ear-grabbing as the lyrics, this album takes a few listens all the way through to truly take it in for what it’s worth.

Kicking off the album is “Let It Rain,” a rather strong and energetic start to the record. With the classic punk-guitar riff driving the beginning of the song, lead singer Collin Walsh’s vocals are matched with the lyrics “I’m going crazy, haven’t slept in days / Can’t live with myself and my selfish ways. / Bring the rain, and let it wash me away.” This track is meant for the crowd, a song that remains rooted in punk tendencies and a more than perfect opener for “Adornment.”

“Come Undone” featuring As It Is’ Patty Walters is an instant hit. A dynamic song with compelling rhythms and complementary vocals from Walters, Walsh’s vocals and the rest of Grayscale seem to intertwine perfectly at once. This track was made for rooted fans of the pop-punk scene, giving them the perfect cross-over anthem.

The band’s first single off of Fearless Records “Atlantic” follows; a punk-anthem that screams the band is here to stay. A prime example of the group’s growth since past album “What We’re Missing,” “Atlantic” is a powerful slice of emo/pop-punk that is meant to get stuck in your head.

A strong production of vocal delivery, technical musicianship or guitar work and purposeful drumming, this track deserves to be noticed. Walsh’s vocals build to the end for the track’s chant-like chorus, “I’ll burn down this bridge, and set my life up in smoke. / You used to be mine, our world used to shine like gold.”

“Forever Yours” immediately takes the high from “Atlantic” and brings it down a few pegs, and in the best way possible. Setting the record at a slower pace, Walsh’s voice remains almost delicate upon the track of an acoustic guitar. “Adornment” almost reads like modern poetry, with “Forever Yours” being a perfect example of the band’s impressive yet soulful lyrics. Walsh confesses, “Place my bouquet of old regrets, drop the weight of my sins. / The ground takes in the better man I could have been.”

“Beautiful Things” and “Mum” bring the pace of “Adornment” back up to speed, with high vocals and familiar guitar riffs that are wrapped in pop-punk. With favorable punk-echoes specifically in “Mum,” Grayscale keeps the record pushing with fan favorites.

“Fever Dream” is a somewhat different pace for the record and the band themselves. It’s a great combination of sounding guitar and drums, a much more melodic song with vocals that glide over the instrumentation. There are softer parts within the track that are delicate before they erupt with a strong power and energy, giving the chorus a heavier stance.

“Echoes (Carry On)” is one of the album’s notable tracks, almost lead single worthy. The ringing guitar gives the track the flame it needs, as well as the exceptional chord progression of what seems to be a xylophone in the background. This song is definitely one of Grayscale’s more “risk-taking” tracks, as they step up of their comfort zone.

Concluding the album is “If I Ever See You Again,” the highly upbeat, sing-along jam session that suffices as the perfect closer to “Adornment.” Walsh gleefully sings about the celebration of being out of a bad relationship through a killer guitar solo and chant-like vocals, one to be a crowd favorite live. Fans can sing along to the lyrics, “If I ever see you again, I’d ask for my time back / And if I ever see you again, I’d want you to know that / I was alone adrift, now I can’t be more over it.”

All in all, “Adronemnt” is Grayscale’s clear proclamation that they no longer write songs simply for the chorus. Instead, the group is creating songs that are almost cinematic worthy; vivid imagery from the lyrics and an emotional atmosphere from the instrumentation.

Being a record that you can grow with, “Adornment” holds a promising future for Grayscale, leading to a transformation of songs with more experimentation, risk and a distinct sound. Whether you are or are not familiar with the Philly natives and their music, “Adornment” is a fresh and genuine pop-punk product worthy of recognition.