The fuzzy, voluminous surface can’t disguise the catchy song lurking beneath, and obviously doesn’t want to. Listen, right at the start, to how that ominous electronic swell that opens the song delivers us first into a goth-y electronic beat and then into an instrumental melody—some kind of processed guitar, maybe?—with enough soaring and plummeting desire to break your heart (and don’t miss the extended “wrong” note it almost but doesn’t quite end on, at 0:36, which seems about perfect). This melody—succinct, well-crafted, and affecting—tells you just about everything you need to know about “No Fear,” and immediately sets it apart from the endless number of tunes I hear these days with long, introspective introductions in which nothing friggin’ happens.
And okay, I’ll avoid that particular soapbox for now (just barely), and get back to the various extroverted pleasures “No Fear” offers, which include: the way front man Danny Wahlfeldt sings from within a chorally muffle of distortion, which is oddly captivating for no good reason; the way the introduction’s fetching melody returns, in abbreviated form, in the middle of the song (1:31), something you don’t hear much of today largely because few songs bother with instrumental melody lines; and the general way Grave Babies here unites a variety of disconnected rock’n'roll genres from the ’80s and ’90s and ’00s, not all of which have been known for their pop sensibilities, into something concise and accessible.
“No Fear” is from the album Crusher, the band’s second, coming later this month on Hardly Art Records. Note that Grave Babies are not to be confused with the band Brave Baby, which was featured here in December.
photo credit: Angel Ceballos