H.Grimace are a band who couldn’t be accused of narrow horizons. Last year’s debut album, the socially conscious Self-Architect, managed to include lyrical commentaries on society’s pressure on the individual, particularly by way of the literary contribution of poet Vivienne Griffin.
Now, to direct the bewitching and eerily beautiful video for latest single ‘In The Body’, the band have brought in international artist Georgina Starr, who has exhibited in everywhere from MOMA in New York to Zurich’s Kunsthalle and Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The video showcases an all-female cast using “coded gesture… and the language of sculpted breath”, and blowing a lot of gum-bubbles, all set to H.Grimace’s trademark post-post-punk, art-rock, dream pop aural landscape.
‘In The Body’ kicks off with upbeat drums that belie what’s about to ensue. Lead singer Hannah asks “What do we have here?” as a guitar pings seductively and the song shuffles threateningly into being with rising keyboards and falling bassnotes. With its whispered vocals, and disparate instrumentation that feels at once spare and claustrophobic, the song has the feel of walls closing in, like the heart’s beat against a tightened ribcage.
There’s something like Sonic Youth in the backing, with a laconic take on the vocal-style of Savages’ Jehnny Beth in its vocals. “The steam room’s just sensational… it’s been such a loooong day”, deadpans Hannah before the chorus’ mantra of the song’s title leads into a sung middle eight. The vocals start to overlay and things seem set to collapse, just as the backing keyboards grow into riffs that harmonise with the guitar lead and a final high note sustain rounds things off.
If the song’s hypnotic qualities weren’t enough, Georgina Starr’s retro-future of ’70s fabrics and bubble-gum makes ‘In The Body’ both a compelling watch and listen. It’s a rare synthesis, particularly for a band of H.Grimace’s relatively modest status, to have a live-action visualisation that poses the same questions as the song, albeit in different ways. Though differently expressed, it’s difficult to separate the sound and look of ‘In The Body’ – a track that is, appropriately enough, guaranteed to get under your skin.
Catch H.Grimace live:
6th October – The Birds Nest supporting Slow Motion Cowboys, London
8th November – Rough Trade, Bristol