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 [a]Talk Talk[/a] 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 [a]Talk Talk[/a]’ gleeful excess, we await Grand National’s doubtless morose New Year with bated breath.

Louis Pattison