Earlier this month, Charlotte based singer-songwriter, Grey Revell, released a new EP called The Happy Infinite. Grey is a good friend of mine and go-to music producer, but he’s also one of my favorite songwriters. His discography extends back to the late 90s. While there isn’t a pedestrian release in the bunch, Infinite seems to be a significant stride towards a brave new aesthetic for the singer-songwriter.
Over the past year Grey has been stepping his game up. He’s assembled a team of superb musicians to act his backing band, the Roman Candles; Rodney Wallin on Bass Guitar, Daniel Jackson on Drums, Matt Stache on Keys/Synth. Grey has spun the himself and the group a web of performances, interviews and recording sessions over the last few months, with the appetite of a fresh, new artist. However, while it may appear as though Grey feels he has something to prove, he’s already compiled quite an impressive resume.
As a key figure in the legendary NYC Anti-Folk movement, Revell spent his twenties in a kind of utopian, artistic tundra of continual self-expression and bold creativity. Alongside noteworthy acts like Kimya Dawson and Regina Spector, Grey and his collective of quirky Anti-Folksters flocked around the Lower Eastside of Manhattan in the late 90s and early 00s.
After relocating to the South East he’s established himself as a prominent figure in Charlotte NC’s local music community. From his sound engineering work with many prominent local acts, to his producing an album and touring with folk legend, Paleface, he’s earned quite the reputation in artistic circles. In 2012, Grey Revell’s song “Gone, Gone” was picked up by HP for advertisement purposes and has since catapulted his solo career back into action.
The Happy Infinite was recorded over a period of four months. The EP acts as the first part of Revell’s ambitious plan; releasing a triad of EPs in 2014. While Grey’s contemplative wording and brilliant structuring were a familiar face on this new EP, The Happy Infinite is set apart from its discographical family in instrumentation and overall sonic character. There are distinct elements of spaciousness and adventurism are persistent from start to finish, no doubt a conscious effort by Revell and his visionary producer Rob Tavaglione(Catalyst Recordings).
Blake, the track that kicks off this EP, an upbeat rock anthem that boasts of busy electric leads, a massive chorus and synth wizardry.
What follows is Return of Red Cat, a groovy, acoustic indie rock singalong, lyrically centered around a concept Revell conceived himself. If I understand the new found symbolism correctly, a Red Cat is to optimism as a Black Cat is to pessimism.
Santa Cruz continues the progression of the EP and provides of more organic platform for the musicians to display their talent. A constant piano line tags along with Grey’s clever lyrics (“I’d be a monkey trying to save a fish from drowning”).
Floating Lanterns serves as Happy Infinite’s stirring conclusion. It’s reverb-coated instrumentation is reminiscent of track 1, while it’s energy level remains consistent with track 3. Lyrically, Floating Lanterns is the kind of ballad that can evoke emotion without over sentimentalizing. The overall content is neither a defeatist sob-fest nor does it provoke brain dead, love-story optimism. The message is simple; beautiful moments tend to pass too quickly…
…as does this EP. I’m greatly anticipating the second installment.
If you have a few minutes, I strongly urge you give this record a thorough listen. I promise it won’t be something you’ll regret. If you’re into supporting local art, I’d encourage you to buy it. Find it on iTunes, Amazon, emusic, etc.
P.S. Floating Lanterns is my favorite track on the EP. I decided to do a quick cover video: