I guess I've been out of touch with what The Grates have been doing as I didn't realize that the Brisbane, Australia trio is now a duo and had relocated to Brooklyn. I got a kick out of the band's new bio (snippet below) where they talk about how they expected NYC to give them immediate inspiration for their third disc, Secret Rituals (which came out this past June). "They rode their bikes through New York blizzards, ate too much Mexican, joined a food co-op to stalk Entourage star Adrian Greiner and longed for New York to give them an album." Hopefully, they didn't join the Park Slope Food Co-Op as that place will suck the creativity and inspiration out of anyone.
Secret Rituals’ is a giant step forward for The Grates. There are still the infectious choruses, cheeky singalongs, and artfully addictive arrangements that characterised the band’s first two albums, but nobody could accuse The Grates of being ‘cute’ any longer. The band’s latest effort is broader and tougher in scope, more stripped back and bold. While a common thread links the record together, marking an album that is unmistakably The Grates, the individual tracks explore new depths. Without the luxury of having six weeks to finetune her lyrics while Alana and John figured out the songs, Patience was forced to take a more direct approach to her lyric writing.
“Everything had been hidden in metaphors on the previous two albums,” she says. “I don’t exactly know how I started feeling confident but it was probably to do with being in New York and being out of my comfort zone and how scary that is in the beginning, but then when you conquer it you’re left with so many more resources because you’ve got so much more to draw from.”
Patience wrote the lyrics to ‘The Night Won’t Start Without Us’’ in the middle of winter in a crazy, crazy blizzard, on one of the days the band was trapped in the band room for hours. But the only storm you’ll hear in this homage to the beaches of Australia are the whirling guitars and tumbling drums. ‘Welcome to the Middle’ is what Patience refers to as a “death lullaby.” No-nonsense drums punch through swirling guitars as she sweetly sings about life being a circle parade. “That’s the sort of song you’re not really going to want to sing to your kid, but that’s what I would sing to explain how life works,” she explains.
The Grates' CMJ Schedule:
- Oct. 16: The Delancey, NYC, 11PM (FREE)
- Oct. 17: Public Assembly, Brooklyn, 9PM
- Oct. 18: Cake Shop, NYC, 9PM
- Oct. 20: Rosenthal Pavilion, NYU Kimmel Centre, 1:55PM
- Oct. 20: Pianos, NYC, 10:30PM (FREE)
- Oct. 21: Pianos, NYC 5:20PM
- Oct. 22: The Delancey, NYC, 4:40PM