Raleigh’s Gray Young wastes little time on its third LP, Bonfire.
The opening track “Canopy Reflected” spends about 30 seconds on atmospheric intro before launching into a purposeful drive to the climax. The trio constructs larger than life sheets of sound, but they aren’t indecipherable. Each part is distinct and well-executed.
Bonfire rarely loses focus. The second track, “Firekit,” keeps the tempo up and doesn’t bother contemplative and often masturbatory conventions of the instrumental post-rock genre. This is common for Gray Young. Seven of the 10 songs on the album are under three and a half minutes.
It’s a welcome change of pace from similar bands and it adds immediacy to the songs; however, it can be a double-edged sword. A release needs to be set up with some tension and songs like “Into The Tall” and “Hidden Leaves” are almost all release. These 2-minute bursts are energizing, but they might have a longer-lasting effect with more of a set up.
Gray Young nails it with the sequence from “Strange Comfort” to “Quiet Gift.” The longer setup aided by the vocals of guitarist Chas McKeown makes for a truly towering climax that wonderfully fades into “Quiet Gift.”
Bonfire may trim the fat, but it isn’t hasty or impatient. Gray Young is as focused here as they’ve ever been.
Limited quantities of Bonfire are available at Schoolkids Records now. Bonfire will be officially released on February 19. The band will play Kings Barcade on March 29.