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Grimm Grimm
Hazy Eyes Maybe Theo Darton-Moore , September 3rd, 2015 11:25

Innocence feels like a rare quality in music these days. Guitar music (admittedly not something I listen to huge amount of these days), can often feel far too susceptible to well-worn cliches and a sort of absurdly backward looking nostalgia. Perhaps his aversion to this is why Koichi Yamanoha's debut LP as Grimm Grimm, Hazy Eyes Maybe, feels so refreshing. Take the endearing pots and pans percussion of 'Kazega Fuitara Sayonara' or the battered space echoes and sleepwalk lyrics of the title track - Yamanoha tailors the boundaries of genre according his own vision.

Originally hailing from Japan and formerly performing as frontman of cult psychedelic-punk group Screaming Tea Party, Grimm Grimm is Yamanoha's outlet to explore an abstracted, reverb drenched approach to the singer-songwriter format. Given the fact the project is still in its infancy, the fact Yamanoha has performed as Grimm Grimm alongside the likes of The Voyeurs, Bo Ningen and Simon Finn, is testament to his talent.

There is both a melancholy and reflective feel maintained across the LP. Take the rambling drums and languid vocals of 'Driving Overflow', or the light-headed quality to 'Teleportation'; both tracks seem to occupy a restless state of insomnia between sleep and consciousness, where indistinct questions dart around the brain in a mood of accepting unease.

Another one of the LP's standouts, 'Tell The Truth' feels equally hallucinatory. Chord's are maintained across an agonisingly long duration throughout the track - Yamanoha's celestial vocals washing over nimble finger-plucked guitar effortlessly. In the closing half of the track haunting theremin melodies are introduced, calling to mind the closing scenes of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - an oddly fitting reference point for the record. The LP's dreamlike quality is pushed to it's limits across 'Robert Downey Syndrome'. The track feels like a 1970s vision of the future, possessing an almost Boards of Canada-like trippyness, at given moments descending into Radiophonic Workshop style abstractions.

Given this, it is slightly unexpected that the record reaches its most upbeat moments near its close, with 'Walk Into The Cold Water With You's driving rhythms and strutting chord patterns. The track is definitely the most pop-oriented offering on the record but still retains shades of Yamanoha's space-gazing signature, despite it's regimented format and lightly sugar-dusted exterior.

Zoolander superstars Bo Ningen help to crunch things up a bit following this, with 'Knowing'. Abrasive, barbed wire guitar makes an odd juxtaposition alongside Yamanoha's angelic vocals and funeral home organ play. Just as abruptly as it starts the track cuts and you are put back into familiar territory with 'Youth From Muswell Hill's plaintive, world weary atmospheres. The return is welcome, but all the more appreciated for the deviation.