The last time I heard G P Hutchings, I said he sounded uncertain and lacked confidence. In his personal EP/demo he released last year, Cleaner Dirt, he hid amongst a cloud of reverberation and would poke his head out now and again for some fresh air. But my how times have changed! In his return to our nest, Hutchings, as part of the Toronto trio Graft, bursts with new life and has a lot to say about it.
Graft, a project between Hutchings and drummer Matthew Couto with bassist Will Brown, are very hard to pin down which is exactly what makes them exciting. Like their name would suggest, Graft take to one genre for a while but just as soon as things start to settle down, they’re off, affixed to something new. Graft’s wordiness also adds to their restlessness. They don’t often settle on cheap rhymes or short verses and choruses – the first line of “School Night” offers the best summary of how loquacious the band can be, as Hutchings sings, “A demystification, a crude encapsulation of all of my shortcomings.” So although Bare Light is just three songs, the trio packs many genres, moods, and lyrics into their energetic EP, giving listeners an extensive look into their multi-faceted world.
Opener “Scan The Aisles,” a song about “lust and wonder,” is the most balanced track from the EP. The song starts off immediately with a bright pop-rock vibe which Graft shake along to until around the half-way mark where things slow down, suitable, as Hutchings admits to feeling, “deflated and defeated.” The latter half of the song continues this swing up and down, mirroring the regrets and unease of the lyrics, making for, in all, a clever track and the EP’s standout.
“Alstonville” is a weird little closer that doesn’t really have a chorus – who need ’em! It’s a nostalgic track about a person or place that’s no longer how you remember them/it and trying to balance “not caring or caring too much” though “they both hurt equally.” Between the picked guitar throughout and the lyrics dripping with sentimentality, “Alstonville” brought me of back to my early teenage years full of pop-punk and angst which it might do for you too if you grew up wearing a studded belt and a lot of black.
There’s a lot happening in Graft’s confident EP Bare Light and it might take a few listens to get it all but that’s okay. Why not take it out in the bare light of Spring and see what happens.
Top Track: “Scan The Aisle”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)