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The Grey Area | 508

album review by John Powell

The Grey Area | 508

There’s something very White Stripes about The Grey Area- likely the no-bull guitar and drums combo, a raw lust for clean rock n’ roll, and no frills. The difference is that Jason Steinhauer layers his guitars in a way Jack White would never do, and Timothy Jones has a wider spectrum of rhythms than Meg White. In exchange, their music has a pop-fueled energy to it, created mostly by Jason’s voice, but there’s nothing super pop about these lovers of guitar riffs and raunch.

“Sugar From You” may have a slow and tempered start, but two and a half minutes in The Grey Area cuts loose into a southern swamp ala Robert Randolph. Then, in similar context, “(What You) Do (To) Me” has a powerful guitar riff that rips like rock splinters. I mean, these guys are good. They rock hard. And have a sense of humor- the title of the song, for instance.

And on “You”, a very southern slow rock withheld from any twang again by Jason’s pop-centered voice: “You are so boring,” he starts, and then adds, “But you make me so horny.” Smart rhyming and smart lining.

This EP takes a switch afterwards, leaving this rock sound behind almost completely. “Ourselves” sounds like a 90s radio hit outtake, something anyone from Sister Hazel to Blues Traveler could get down with. “I’m a nameless face in history,” Jason sings over funk 1-4-5 guitar juice. The chorus is both catchy and sincere, and you will likely sing along by the third time it comes along.

“Hurricane” is a somewhat cheesey love song, but so heartfelt and performed by such great musicians that it really doesn’t come off that way unless you break it down. Jason really has a knack for lyrics, wry, dry humor, poetic syntax, and melodically changed up, and honestly, “Hurricane” sparkles with that pop rock vibe many of us want to hate but give in to.

508 could seem scattered, but it’s so much fun and so truthful that you won’t mind the dips and dives, (the hidden track has the duo rapping!). Great for roadtrips, sunny summer nights, and for anyone that enjoys a good guitar solo.

Bottom line: The Grey Area’s name befits their span of musical heritage and their ability to perform within the spectrum, all with ease, poise, and catchy hooks.


 

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