Aucklanders, Jordan Puryer and Adrian Bird formed Mellow Grave in early 2010 as an off-shoot of their band, 1995. They appear to have taken 1995’s more conventional Interpol / Joy Division rock and gone far underground. Well, six feet, at least. The vocals and guitars have slid into the ether and been hijacked by the ‘ghosts in the machine’, the glacial synths and hip-hop beats of what critics have dubbed Witch-House or Drag. But it would be unfair to tar Mellow Grave with the same brush as such Drag flag-bearers as SALEM.
Nonetheless, album openers, ‘Oxygen’ and ‘Melatonin’ suggest that Puryer and Bird are receiving less of either than is healthy. The industrial clatter of ‘Melatonin’ is especially crushing, but halfway through third track, ‘Amphibian’, the pace picks up - the beast literally drags itself out of the murk. An impression of Cold Cave, or a grim New Order fronted by Ian Curtis singing from the…er… grave… continues through ‘Burn One’, and there are even flashes of M83’s light in ‘Wood Grain’. ’Merk That’ is almost club-friendly, not a particularly friendly club perhaps, but I can imagine zombies throwing shapes in a dark, airless basement. Mellow Grave show us that they are capable of several shades of grey.
Click here to listen to Mellow Grave - Oxygen
A4. Burn One
A5. Wood Grain
B1. Raining Meth
B2. Merk That
B3. Don't Deliver Us
B4. Far Window