Simon Grainger, aka Graingerboy, is by far one of my favorite independent artists that you don't know. He's released an EP titled, "Silent Universe" and it's one of the best indie releases I've heard in a long time. There's a sense of ease that a lot of music is missing these days. Even though this album would be considered electronica or EDM, the production of each track is very organic and nothing is overproduced. It all falls together effortlessly as one beautiful collection.
It's almost like this EP serves as a sampler of what Simon can do. Each track stands on their own within their own carved out niche in the genre and could easily be released as a mainstream radio play ready single but when you put them all together, they make this incredible product that shows off all the best that Simon has to give.
The EP kicks off with "Cheaper Than a Taxi Home", a banger of a track with a this really cool static bass line that just drives the track forward with this clear purpose and reasoning. The vocals ride on top of it without ever being over taken or trampled on. It's a fantastic opener to the album and sets the mood for what's to come.
"Trainsurfing" is a bit dark and melancholic that draws you into the images that he's painting. His voice is just so subtle and the track is a bit thick like syrup and it just pulls you along like a lazy river. You never feel rushed or hurried; you'll get to where you need to go on your own time and he's just walking beside you the entire time.
Sticking with a dreamy, easy sound "Summersend", makes you want to put the top down on your classic Mustang and drive on a Sunday afternoon with the breeze blowing in your hair. The ambiance and touch of ambivalence on this track come together to build into this kind of mournful song that makes you think of the hurried romances that have to end when the summer ends and you have to go back to your life. There wasn't anything before and there won't be anything after so you're pleased with the experience but you are left with a bit of a sting as things have fallen apart.
My favorite track on the album is "Flying Solo" because of how beautifully he's channeled all the greatness of the New Romantics into three minutes and eight seconds of pure synth pop heaven. I cannot get enough of this song. The beginning of the second verse:
"We were sitting down / at some bar in town / talking baby talk talk / with your head held against my chest"makes me swoon so hard. This simple progression of lyrics, the way he's written them and how he delivers them makes me so hopeful for romance and love but I can hear how guarded they are at the same time. You have an idea of how this relationship was the absolute best and worst of it all at once.
"Be Forever" continues with this idea of taking the synth of the past and making it into something new. It's still got this fantastic retro feel but it's also very forward thinking so that it takes on this whole new idea of thoughts and feelings being presented in a very fresh way. It's not a pushy track and makes no demands on you that you aren't willing to oblige. You just dance along with it in your seat.
And the last track, "Vintage" closes the EP out in the best possible ways. It's a stand up track that fully melds this idea of Retro New Wave in a way that you are very familiar with the building blocks and how it's built but there are still surprises to be had. It makes me think of what David Gahan would sound like if he was happier every now and then. It fits beautifully somewhere between Erasure and Depeche Mode but it's new and inventive.
Simon Grainger has a way of crafting music that challenges your ideas of what is synth pop and how retro is new again and never once does it come across as trite or tired. It's exciting and fresh and could easily be played on the radio now. Give him some social media love or buy this EP because it's that good.
Graingerboy on the Web
Amazon: Graingerboy's Store