By Nathan Pavolko
The Gromble is a brand new band off the lot, who made some serious waves with their self-titled EP The Gromble, winning the Independent Music Award for best album EP in 2014. The group is named after a character from the 90’s Nickelodeon TV show Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, which shows how bubbly and fun their songs can be. I think it is really great that a band can show a sense of humor; it’s kind of refreshing to see a new band who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. They hail from the sunny Orange County, with the warm summer beach waves and spontaneous road trips shinning bright within their music. Now releasing their charming debut LP Jayus on the label 37 Records, the band recorded the DIY way in their family homes with the guitar in the garage and the vocals in the closet.
I find the opening track to be an obscure choice for an indie-electronic band; “Overture” is a light, whimsical song orchestrated with synthesizers, violin, and shimmering horns. This song showcases the band’s musical prowess, using multiple instruments to ease you into the album gently. Next up is a real rocker and the lead single of the album, “Real Sympathy”. It’s a song with some killer synthesizer tones and melodies and a rhythm section with the momentum to keep you moving with a smile on your face. “Slam” is one of the tracks pulled from their EP that I was impressed with. The bass line is so catchy with its bouncing melody alongside a hollering vocal hook: “I know that I can make it // I know that I can make this a lie.”
Another unexpected track to land on the album, but much welcomed, is a beautiful piano piece entitled “NYC Frog Interlude”, with a thick dreamy sustain to the notes. This song goes hand in hand with the next track “Again", a building ballad with long drawn out chords and vocals. The quivering organ and synth work in the background is also a nice touch to the song. This is, in my opinion, the biggest sounding track on the album; that chorus is huge! Both of these tracks have to be my favorites on Jayus due to how vastly different they are from the others.
The entirety of their EP was put into the album, which is a great move because they are some of the strongest tracks on Jayus. However, the addition of so many other new tracks weighs down the album. Running into certain pockets where the band loses momentum and the music starts to get stagnant. There were a few moments on the album that I legitimately thought it was about to end due to the songs intensity and liveliness, yet it kept going. That’s not to say that these songs are inherently bad, I just feel it would’ve been more enjoyable if the album were more condensed.
The Gromble’s debut album Jayus is a wonderfully bright and entertaining album with a lot of fun tracks. You can truly tell how much effort was put into the production and writing of each song considering how they were recorded. Yet, if they shortened the album by a few songs I would have enjoyed each track that much more. If you’re a fan of Vampire Weekend, Grouplove, or Death Cab for Cutie, then go for a road trip or a walk and give this album a listen. The Gromble is definitely a band to watch out for.