Grmln – Explore


Rating: 7.0
Carpark Records

Explore may be music from mom’s basement, but it’s certainly not “music from mom’s basement”. GRMLN’s debut EP is clean, bright and it will certainly see daylight. Nineteen-year-old Yoodoo Park, the man behind the moniker, debuts with a familiar coastal tremolo and smooth pretty boy vocals.

What is difficult about Explore is that it’s a tight album. It certainly fits a genre and it does it right, but maybe that’s the issue. There is part of me that questions if we really need another breezy beach boy teaching us to relax. That twangy, surf rock sound is one we’ve been hearing a lot of lately and to be honest, Real Estate are still my top dudes in filling that niche for me. I like the album, but I have no need for it.

Patio for example has got that plucky guitar, the dreamy “oohing”, and that shaker that keeps everything at bay… mixed with heavy elements of Bon Iver vocals. These are all sounds I have heard before and that same skeptical part of me wants to write it off as “been done”, but I can’t help but be enthralled by it. Just as I’m nearing the end of the album, the second last song changes things. Sitting at 1:47 it ends as you’re still day dreaming of your summer in Instagram filters. It picks you up and removes you and there is something to be said about that.

There is this certain romance about the timing of Explore’s release. The more I listen to the album, the more nostalgia starts to lace itself in with the songs. If Park had dropped his EP in the summer there is a risk that it would get lost in a wash of other seashore albums… this fall release may just its saving grace.

Just as I had put my summer albums back into hibernation, Explore comes in and extends the season past what I thought possible. GRMLN’s debut isn’t the most original album that will grace us this fall, but it will at least keep you warm that little bit longer.

Ali Haberstroh