Record review: The Grates – Dream Team (2014, LP)

the grates dream team

The Grates duo of Patience Hodgson and John Patterson may have been heavily focussed on baking scones at their Brisbane tea rooms over the last couple of years, but don’t expect them to go all buttery and lose bite just because they’ve had their hands on more cupcakes than guitar strings of late. Written, recorded and produced within a week, and released on the band’s own label, Dream Team sees the pair, joined by beat-keeping barista Ritchie Daniels on drums, return to the frantic pop-punk of their formative years in the mid-noughties. The result is an album which gains much from the band’s sound losing its pop sheen, and is all the more exciting for it. Hodgson is in her finest shout-y form throughout, especially on opener ‘Call Me’ and the deceptively brutal ‘Dirty Hands’, and Patterson provides the chunky pop chords at all the right moments. Just when the assault doesn’t appear to be letting up, ‘It Won’t Hurt Anymore’ throws a sensitively-aimed curve ball as an unexpected highlight. While ‘Friends With Scum’ recalls X-Ray Spex, ‘I Wish I Was Alone’ owes a debt to every coming-of-age teen comedy film made in the late nineties. A streak of assured independence seems to have been the ingredient which has made the band rattle and roll once more, although it’s unlikely that a future holding album release parties would be more profitable than one involving bake-offs. One thing is for sure: Dream Team is as exciting as it is explosive. Welcome to The Grates’ finest moment. (Death Valley)

For mX

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