Bummed out: Colossal Downer by Grey Hairs reviewed

David Roy

Colossal Downer is out now on Gringo Records

SOMETIMES, you just hit it off with a new band right away. For example, I liked the cut of Notts combo Grey Hairs' jib from the moment I laid eyes on the striking cover pic of their debut LP, Colossal Downer.

Then I flipped over the CD to discover song titles such as Badmotorfingered, Fatberg, Dave's Van and The Handpi**er: ding ding ding, winner winner, chicken dinner.

Any anxiety that the music contained within might not live up to these sterling first impressions was dispelled almost immediately by the heavy Melvins-esque squall of sludge-riffing opener, Ship.

With its lumbering, riverbed-dragging gait, a catchy chorus refrain of "don't ask me, man" (emphasis on 'me') and neat late-breaking up-shift to double-time, Ship reeks of men (and woman, in bassist Amy) raised on an unsteady diet of the collected recordings of Jack Endino who are likely also heavily invested in the output of Sub Pop's current kings of noisy, existential-themed, stick-it-to-the-man workercore, Pi**ed Jeans.

It only got better from there. Playfully poppy bass-led groover Creepy is also cut from the same damp cloth that King Buzzo and co assemble their more atmospheric Sabbath tributes from, Emergency Banger and the aforementioned Dave's Van confirm Grey Hairs know their US hardcore and DC post-hardcore respectively, before the jazzier bent of Jesco's entertainingly shouty dance number slightly recalls the heavy yet nimble work of London ex-Fat Cats, Giddy Motors.

Anxiety Dream finds Grey Hairs fashioning their version of what a 'hit single' should sound like in the form of another loser-galvanising TAD-esque chorus ("What does it mean? / What the hell does it mean?") riding waves of Stoogian fuzz guitars congealed over a meandering riff hand-pilfered from Bad Religion's Atomic Garden, while the mesmeric, moody Dischord-style discord of Martha gives way to The Hedgehider – yet another top-drawer song title, there – is a glorious mess of slouchy, down-tuned riffage and half-cut drinking song anthemics made all the better by the fact singer/shouter James sounds amusingly like noted straight-edger Ian MacKaye.

There's rockabilly scuzz galore of White As Whispers before Colossal Downer goes out on a cathartic low with the unholy trinity of Badmotorfingered (Fugazi gets the blues), The Handpi**er (Part Chimp doing a Nirvana noise jam, recorded in a bucket) and Fatberg's climactic downward spiral into repetitive sludge riff hell.

If you've had a nasty week, a good shout and nod along to Colossal Downer should help ease the pain. Get it now on limited orange vinyl or CD at


1. Different Angle – The Cribs

2. Lean In – The Charlatans

3. Twisted Arrow – Arborist (feat Kim Deal)

4. Kenzie's Farmhouse – Hot Cops

5. Idiot Cousin – Therapy?

6. Cleaver – Kerbdog

7. Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J

8. Selfish – Ned's Atomic Dustbin

9. Rock The Blues Away – AC/DC

10. So Emotional – Whitney Houston


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