Grey Fiction | On Your Way to Earth and Back | Embargo Records

Review: Grey Fiction – On Your Way to Earth and Back

National Music Reviews

Grey Fiction
On Your Way to Earth and Back

Embargo Records
Street: 01.20
Grey Fiction = Arctic Monkeys + Dicey Hollow

Utah natives turned Portland, Oregon residents, Grey Fiction dropped On Your Way to Earth and Back earlier this year and it isn’t something to sleep on. By introducing out-of-this-world soundscapes to classically sexy, gritty alternative rock n’ roll flavors, Zain, Mark and Matthew Musse put their fingerprints all over the alternative genre and form it into something brand new.

The introduction to the album is a song called “Rebirth,” which contains a taste of every characteristic and unique detail that will be found throughout the entire 14-song piece. The space-inspired intro, layered on top of a vintage sound clip, bleeds into a sweet piano melody that builds with a bouncy drum beat and evolves into a powerful song that’s easy to bob your head to. It’s the perfect mix of their crunchy, alternative side and their sweet, light-hearted side, which, when mixed together, makes the album multifaceted and interesting through and through. 

While this album is a mixed bag of topics and inspiration, it’s apparent that the band pulls a lot of emotional appeal within each song, whether it’s edgy or soft and sweet. The topic could be serious, like in Track 2, “Crimes,” where they talk about deception, revenge and demanding repayment, or it could be a more dreamy, romantic subject, like in the retro, beachy track “Extraordinary Beauty.” There’s so much variety within this album that any alternative fan can find something to enjoy. From melancholic heartache to passion and all the way to burning love, Grey Fiction pull at my heartstrings, and I can’t get enough of it.

One of my most favorite songs off of this album is “Gracefully,” which is about leaving a love behind to chase a dream. It starts with a swaying acoustic guitar that bleeds into Zain’s silky yet raspy vocals. It’s subtle rumbling bassline matches the consistent and captivating drum beat. It’s a raw, emotional song that makes the heart heavy. The lyrics are poetic and full of truth, like“It’s time to pack my bags and leave without you. I’m off to chase the sun and make a name while I’m young,” or “You could come away with me. You could leave the salt behind for the sea … You could run away with me and I’ll love you gracefully.” Spun in the perfect web of instrumentals, the beautiful words are tender and vulnerable and frankly, just too good!

Grey Fiction have shone a new light into alternative music. By paving their own path, evolving their own sound and staying true to their writing and artistic style, they’re bringing something new to the genre. On Your Way to Earth and Back is an album full of gems, each crafted to suit a certain mood and ambience, which makes this album a versatile addition to my collection. You can hear each different facet of their sound within each song.  I’m excited to see what direction they go musically, and whether or not they’ll keep the variety in their sound or cement themselves down to one of them— but either way, Grey Fiction stole my heart, and I know I’ll be reaching for this album a hell of a lot. –Zaina Abujebarah