July 17, 2018 Von Grey – In Bloom: Acoustic (EP Review)
By definition, acoustic often refers to instrumentation used in musical performance. In the case of Von Grey, however, what fits more is the sense of sound that creates an ability to relate which is beyond human; music that the three classically-trained sisters create is supernatural. On In Bloom: Acoustic – which arrives Friday, July 20, 2018 – Von Grey returns to their roots: three-part harmonies surrounded by strings. Rising above their present success in Pop Rock are three old souls who are embracing the ethereal gifts they have been heaven sent.
Leaving behind Electronica on this release was a smart move. Mixed by Chad Howat with finishing touches from Voyager Mastering, this is music that shines. Clarity is key, and each instrument resonates sonically whether it is cello, piano, vocals, or some stringed bit of magic from these multi-instrumentalists.
Acoustic/Orchestral/Alternative Rock could be a risky move for some bands, but not for Fiona, Annika, and Kathryn Von Grey whose ages range from twenty to twenty-three years. Is it their youth that is bringing on this disregard for conventional ideas regarding music and its business? Maybe, since the band is one whose listeners know notes influences as groundbreaking as Depeche Mode and St. Vincent. Along with the fact these three women have nurtured a talent given by the Gods, ethereal beauty is combined with unconventional artistic sensibilities making each nuance of composition and vocal-phrasing interesting and unconventional. St. Vincent would be proud!
In Bloom: Acoustic is the fourth studio release for Von Grey through VG Records. The six songs on this self-produced EP contain reimagined favorites from their 2017 album, Trinity, naked along with new music like the first single, “Plans,” which was prophetic in its blast to the top of Billboard upon release. Ambient and ethereal, lyrically channeling discomforts of life into this music became the vehicle of a change musically. Ironically, this change is a step back, thus how an acoustic release came to be.
Listeners hearing “6 AM,” that is now an Acoustic/Ambient/Orchestral piece with cello-driven brilliance, may question why this has taken three releases for Von Grey to visit composition in this way. Noted as a Multi-Instrumentalist, Kathryn Von Grey is not alone here; these three sisters are taking the opportunity to show that all music has roots that go deep towards Beethoven and Brahms. Revising 2017’s “Poison In The Water” in this stripped performance, vocally the sisters shine in the simple production choices; uncluttered, the heavenly brilliance echoes. This cut belongs in the HBO show Game of Thrones with this cinematic incarnation.
The beauty here with In Bloom: Acoustic is it is mature, musically. Listeners may prefer this version of Von Grey, especially when it comes to a quick hit like “Unclean,” with the rapid phrasing of each staccato vocal. The glaring truth is revealed: an attention-grabber opening with piano, this stunner oozes emotion. This cut is creepy cool beyond belief!
Coming to an end too quickly, “Closer To You” proves that these women have a plan. Sequencing is key here, and this is another of the previously-released tracks that have been brought to life in a new way. This twin of the original, from Trinity, may be the window into who these women really are musically. Closing out with “Dawn,” listeners know this is another layer of amazing talent. One of the new cuts, this ends the EP with a new love and feeling of warm embrace; sonically stunning, these are harmonies born in heaven and sent to Earth for listeners to submerge their souls in.
Taking a turn back to embrace their classical training, Von Grey honor their roots with their fourth studio release, In Bloom: Acoustic. Is this a contradiction for a band whose success in Electronica and Indie Rock has been the foundation? Listeners are being reminded the real foundation is Classical music; by reworking the familiar, all songs are new on this EP, even if the melodies and lyrics are refreshed, cool, and somehow more heavenly than what they were before. Angels are real, and sometimes they sound like three sisters from Atlanta called Von Grey. Lost in the muses, CrypticRock gives In Bloom: Acoustic 5 of 5 stars.