Grand National : EP1

Compelling electro-punk gloom

It’s grim up North London, but for the four young soulboys that number post-punk existentialists Grand National, gloom is not just their habitat - it’s their lifeblood. Sneaking out psychic tendrils to lost souls of days gone by, their debut EP captures echoes of everything from the spiritual desolation of Talk Talk to the choppy pale-face punk-funk and shrieking brass of Gang Of Four, and renders them anew with a singular, hypnotic clarity. There’s no slogans marring the meditative, cracked-vinyl lull of ‘Peanut Dreams’, no posturing to the brittle, robotic ‘Criminal’. Just a fervour for a music that skilfully merges the synthetic and organic - the sound of broken dreams swaddled in booze and blankets; cold sleepy days and gritted-teeth valium hangovers. A cold Boxing Day comedown to Talk Talk’ gleeful excess, we await Grand National’s doubtless morose New Year with bated breath.

Louis Pattison

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