You know what they say about dogs being like their owners, well that was the same for music students where I went to University, and I suspect it was (and is) the same everywhere. There was us, the brass players. Loud, brash, heavy drinking animals who arrived in college purely to find people to go to the pub with, or (occasionally) go to lectures. Looked down upon by the woodwind players (misery sticks), pitied by the studious and sensible string players (scratch boxes), looked up to by the percussion players (shed builders) and generally ignored by the keyboard and classical guitar players (usually socially awkward anyway, and certainly not to be coveted for all day drinking) Thing was they could all make these beautiful sounds, and in the dark melancholy of the pub snugs, you could maybe afford that thought. If only we could make that dark beautiful sound of the strings, that lyrical sound of the strings, the……..well, maybe we didn’t ponder percussion at times like that. And anyway, who’s round was it? Come on, let’s have a game of darts.
Listening to Orlando, Florida based Good Graeff takes me back to those brief moments of brass players self-pity. Beautiful string led country sort of classical sort of indie pop, its charming and funny and fun and melodious and…well, great.
The band itself is essentially twins Brooke and Brittany Graeff, who first formed the acoustic folk pop duo Good Graeff in 2004 when they were just 16 years old – I have to ask what they’d been doing for the other 15 years, but that’s probably just me. In high school, Brooke started writing music, and Good Graeff was unleashed. A hiatus occurred when the twins went exploring, Brooke to Canada, and Brittany came across to Europe.
Now they’re reunited, and with a purpose. They’ve a kickstarter campaign to help them tour, and they’ve also got the recently released Good Grief EP out, that you really ought to check out.
It opens with white horses, that introduces you to Good Graeff the band. The girls sing together, little life stories and observations, with largely acoustic instrumentation to the fore. It propels forward, intelligently, somewhat reminiscent of girls doing Ra Ra Riot songs.
Second song Vietnam, is the first of the stand out tracks on the EP. It’s here that the dark sound of the cello starts to ache, to gently pull at your emotions, in this, a tale of waiting, of love, of being unsure. Hold me fast is beautiful. Simple as that. The Cello (That Cello) plays with your senses, making you feel euphoric with its rhythmic figure, then dismissing that in favour of beauty. The whole song is a rush of emotion.
You don’t sleep has the air of a folk song in its feel, and indeed its arrangement, and that moves smoothly into penultimate track on the EP, Eye to eye. More of a sing aloong number than some of the others, it remains unrelentingly positive and sunny, and builds to the sort of crescendo that leaves a warm feeling inside.
Top of the world (Fucking close) could almost be the sort of thing Mumford and Sons could write, but don’t. Its charming, I’m not top of the world, but with you I’m getting Fucking close, sings Brooke, with a (probably metaphorical) smile on her face. And what this whole EP leaves you with, is a (not metaphorical) genuine smile on your face.