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Grawl!x has just released concept album ‘Aye!’ and will soon set off on a UK tour. Written on an old piano in an abandoned church and recorded over months of disjointed sessions in various spaces, the album features vocals and instrumentation by Haiku Salut, and recalls Dan Deacon and Animal Collective at their finest. The album theme was derived from a concept taken from the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of dealing with grief, with Aye! (the second album in a trilogy) exploring the final stage – acceptance.

The brainchild and alter-ego of James Machin, Derbyshire-based Grawl!x has announced the forthcoming release of his brand new album, Aye! (out May 28th). Recorded over months of disjointed sessions in various bedrooms and spaces, and featuring vocals and instrumentation by Haiku Salut, the hypnotic experimental dream-pop album recalls Dan Deacon and Animal Collective at their finest.

Truly captivating; swells of psychedelic guitars accompany layers of distant voices, and hazy, hypnotic drums – stylistically reminiscent of Panda Bear and, in parts, Alt-J. The album theme was derived from a concept taken from the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of dealing with grief, with Aye! (the second album in a trilogy) exploring the final stage – acceptance.

Aye! was written over the course of a number of months in an almost abandoned church on a hill in the Derbyshire countryside. Machin would walk to the church in all weathers, never encountering another soul there. Machin explains: “Inside that rather foreboding structure is an old upright piano, displaying a laminated sheet of paper with the words ‘This Piano was Meant to be Played’. So he did, regularly.

This inspired the concept of an entire church tour – with a full band, Grawl!x played numerous tour dates in some of the UK’s most beautiful churches, bringing audiences Machin’s melodic creations as they were originally intended.

The record’s lyrical themes centre around an unfortunate incident involving a mysterious ‘friend’ of the ex-My Psychoanalyst singer and guitarist. Speaking about these themes, Machin said: “Whereas my response to that would have been to mope around, his was to say ‘YES’ to whatever came his way. An affirmative attitude, that I admired.”

The multi-instrumentalist played and recorded all of the instruments on Aye!, keen to create an album of two parts – a dream-pop A side and a slicker, electronic B side. Experimental soundscape ‘Compliance’ serves to mark this divide, and signpost a turning point in the album. This is a record about coping with the aftermath of grief – and how life goes on. It’s there in the haunting ‘Destination’ and the cyclical ‘Circadian Riddim’, laden as they are with drum machines and spacey synths.