‘Collide’ is beautiful, dreamy and ever-so-slightly alternative pop from Boston band Grand Evolution. Well-written pop songs from a band who give the impression they were influenced as much by grunge and hard rock than anything else.
It starts with ‘Sweetheart’. Music made to compliment singer Sarah Kenyon’s laid-back voice, the guitar works alongside her to maintain the tune throughout and it’s a promising start.
‘Forget You’ begins with a chiming keyboard-sounding melody that’s so sweet it kind of sounds like Christmas, in a good way. More of a single to me, it’s faster to get to the big hook of the chorus, but has smooth melodies gliding at all times. It’s the type of song I can imagine working at the credits of an indie rom-com, or the type of film starring Ryan Reynolds.
The promise of the first 2 songs turns golden on ‘Goodbye’. After a slightly darker, delicate guitar intro, the vocals sound more like a British 90s act than I’ve realised so far, and it’s a great blend of sugary pop and rock attitude. ‘Goodbye’ is a beautiful tune that sways gently between parts without losing strong melody, reminiscent of the Stone Roses on their first album. That comparison doesn’t do Sarah any justice at all though. Where Ian Brown of the Stone Roses more talked vaguely in tune, her voice flows in a pretty, effortless way.
Final track ‘Better Off’ deceives with the most rock intro so far, before settling into possibly the most pop verse on the EP. It plays like the previous 3 songs, with succinct, individually melodic parts that feel natural. It’s not what I usually listen to so I don’t have any good comparisons, but they’ve won me over.
Across the four songs on ‘Collide’ you’ll hear well-written pop songs that waste no time on overly-long instrumentation or solos. That which does feature is kept in check in favour of the song every time; it’s all based around the melodies and the voice. Grand Evolution strike a good balance of sounding young enough to be relevant, but not so young that they don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s a retro flavour about the whole thing that’s hard to place and I think that’s just what comes from good songs. It’s probably best defined as garage pop, but better than that, well-crafted and well worth a listen.
by Dave Charles