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Grimm Winter - November Midnight (self-released)

28 November 2023

When I see a band tagged as pop-punk or emo, alarm bells ring in my head. Both genres seemed to have failed to live up to their potential long ago, the former hijacked by frat boy bands who weren’t as funny as they thought, the latter by guy-linered, twenty-somethings still moaning about life being so unfair. (Grow up, the lot of you!) But, despite the labels, both of which are undeserved and even slightly detrimental in this case, Grimm Winter’s latest single, “November Midnight,” is rather good. No, it’s better than that; it’s flippin’ fantastic.

As a band, they bristle with 90s vibes, but not particularly those of the aforementioned genres. Instead, they seem to walk that fine, alt-rock line between indie melody and grunge muscle. “November Midnight” is a song that ebbs and flows between punchy crescendoes and almost folky interludes, and its final sonic chapter, the last minute or so, pushes even those folky vocal layers into some rarified, progressive realms.

A lot can happen in four minutes, and if this is alt-rock, then it is the sort of alt-rock that really explores the sonic space that such a tag affords a band. Not for them, that ironic situation whereby alternative bands often sound more mainstream, more conformist, more safe than the thing they were first making a stand against. No, this is a band really that understands that to live up to the tag alternative, you have to be constantly searching for something beyond, continually evolving, constantly beating a path through pastures new.

As a benchmark of what bands on the outside track need to be doing to offer the alternative they claim to be, this is about as good as it gets for now. I say for now because I get the feeling that with Grimm Winter, as soon as they feel that other bands are getting close to stealing their essence, copying their style, they will be off working on the next chapter of their musical story. And who knows what new creative heights that might bring!

Bands like this are the reason why music endures.

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