Music Review: The Brutal Years EP by Dave Griffiths

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April 30, 2018
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Music Review: The Brutal Years EP by Dave Griffiths

Basic Details

Release Date
Digital Price
£4 (bandcamp)

Track Listing

Track1
Born
Track2
The Fear
Track3
Thank You, Graham Coxon
Track4
I Gave Up Giving Up
Track5
Hide

Buying Options

"So here are five songs that were written in the last 18 months that express a little of my processing a period of depression and spiritual deconstruction. These are mainly prayers awash with the visceral sound I have always loved in bands like Sonic Youth and guitarists like Graham Coxon (hence the song for him).

Life can be hard - but these years that can seem so brutal are not the end of the story." - Dave Griffiths

Editor review

1 reviews

The Brutal Years by Dave Griffiths
Overall rating 
 
9.3
Vocals 
 
8.0
Lyrics 
 
9.0
Originality 
 
10.0
Value 
 
9.0
Personal Rating 
 
10.0

What do you do when your religion doesn't quite 'cut it' and you begin to question some of the fundamentals of an ingrained belief system? Perhaps it was never about 'religion' in the first place and, in reality, it's about relationship. I've met Dave a few times over the years as he played with BOSH and more recently Chaos Curb Collaboration. Underneath the tight-jean wearing, guitar playing rock front man of both these groups there is a deeper thinker than I ever realised. It is this that has led to this introspective 5-track EP from Dave which takes a different journey from his previous album Here & Now.

Dave himself describes this album as 'raw' and from the very start looks to get express his writers heart in this music which starts with lots of guitar feedback effects from the very first second of "Born". This track at first seems to be a bit depressing about being born under the English grey, with the affliction of being a thinker, and born just to eventually face 'Sheol', one of the Biblical names for the place of the dead. It's a play on words to then cry out, "Can I be born again?", which can be taken as asking to literally be born again, preferably with a better lot in life, alternatively it also refers to the new life of the Christian believer. Although this sounds a bit downbeat, there is hope, he recognises that there is idea that one day he will rise. There is a definite angst about this track, along with "Hide" which has a whole load going on in the opening moments with swirling sounds, which means the listener makes sense of this through the constant drum beat. On a bad day anyone can feel like Dave in this track who just wants to hide away from everything. Having dealt with people who are depressed in my life there is an element of education here for those who don't understand it. The simple lyrics are "I just want to hide, would you hide with me?" and just because someone doesn't want to face the world doesn't mean that they want to be alone. Sometimes the best thing you can do with someone depressed is join them where they are and show them that they are not alone!

The third track is an unusual one for any kind of artist, to pay a direct homage to someone who was an influence on their life. "Thank You, Graham Coxon" may have you wondering who this Graham Coxon person is, particularly if you never lived through the music of the 90's, let me save you the bother of looking it up, he was the guitarist of Brit-pop band Blur who popularised a new sound, which now seems quite common-place thanks to many copies! This is a heart-on-your-sleeve moment from Dave as he wonders where he would be now if he hadn't heard that music and been inspired by it! 

There is a hint of humour and, I imagine, a bit of a glint in Dave's eye as he sings "I Gave Up Giving Up". This positivity dips slightly for the early parts of "Fear Master" as this gritty grunge-laden track investigates dread and fear that takes us over. This is a condition identified from childhood for Dave, but now he knows where to run to. The 'who' is never identified, but it's clear that 'shelter' and 'home' is all part of that One that he can hide in.

This is a departure from anything that I have heard before from Dave. It is more 'raw' as he said, but it's also very real. Religion and religiousity is most definitely something that we are meant to be trapped in. I even wonder if the fears from the final track are fears about the institutional understanding of sin in the church, the fear of hell as an overriding concept. Dave cannot run to the Church, but he can run to God and be assured that there is safety, not shame, there for him. Of course, that's just my interpretation. I would imagine that this EP has been a cathartic process for Dave and it's 5 tracks that demand your attention from the start. If squealing feedback and distorted electric guitars aren't for you, then give this a miss. But if you are looking for something that screams with emotion through the music then get this 5 track EP. If you've asked questions of your life, your faith and even your mental health then let these songs speak to you!

RA

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