As you may well be aware, the wonderful Grammatics are no more. Bowing out from the live arena with a series of shows in August, they have now closed the curtain on their career as a whole – but not before releasing one final EP, entitled KRUPT (in reference to the fact the band had gone bankrupt). The EP was fan-funded via Pledge Music and was recorded in a week with James Kenosha (the producer of their eponymous debut) at his studio near Bridlington. The band may have been struggling financially, but on this evidence they were far from creatively bankrupt.
‘Stalinesque’ kicks off the EP with a fuzzy bassline before exploding into a chorus of jagged guitars and staccato cello, while ‘Mutant Reverb’ is Grammatics in full-blown dramatic mode, building from understated melancholy into an all-encompassing maelstrom of noise. The band have never been ones to shy away from experimentation – Owen has wryly described ‘Church Of The Great I Am’ as “us going R’n’B”, and he’s not far off. It’s a hugely anthemic ballad that sees the band take a huge stride into pop territory – but it maintains that distinctive Grammatics feel thanks to Owen’s wonderful voice and some fantastic cello from Lins Wilson. ‘Cedars-Sinai’, meanwhile, pushes the boat out further, swathing everything in echo to create an almost shoegaze sound. Closing out the EP is the title track, ‘KRUPT’, which touches on the band’s demise (“When the game is over/and you’re haemorrhaging money”). It feels like a dignified finale, with Owen’s resigned vocal backed by a sombre piano and cello accompaniment, while the drums remain defiantly regimented.
Although KRUPT is a worthy send-off , it also provides us with a tantalising glimpse of the second album that might have been. On this evidence, I believe it would have been at least as good as their debut. At least, thanks to their fans, Grammatics were given the opportunity to go out with a bang rather than a whimper – and that’s something we should all be grateful for.
But don’t just take my word for it – check out ‘Stalinesque’ from the EP below (via Drowned In Sound).
KRUPT is available on iTunes now.