Grum – Heartbeats (2010 LP)


Ooooooohhh, Fashion!

The sparkling sounds of Grum
are inescapably smile inducing. I have to admit, I’m a little more
used to his drivey synth sounds heard in the likes of his quality remixes
of Revolte – Ironical Sexism
and even Passion Pit – To Kingdom Come
or his grunge throwing original, Go Back. Having said that, there
has always been an element of glitter and a pop quality riding along
with Grum.

This shining disco pop feel comes alive
through his debut album, Heartbeats, released on his own label,
under Kevin McKay’s Glasgow Underground. Firstly,
I need to point out the fact that every time I hear Fashion I
think of Flight of the Concords, “f-f-f-f-f-f fashion”. Now
that I’ve got that out in the open, let’s discuss the album.

Disco. Pop. Pop disco. Disco pop –
However you say it, I never really liked the idea. Grum has somehow
managed to get inside my head and turn my perspective. Possibly because
I already liked many of his tracks and remixes from years ago I was
more willing to give Heartbeats a proper listening, or maybe
it’s ‘cause Grum has created something delightfully listenable.
Either way, it is mostly wonderful and when listening to
you are instantly transported back to the 80s but AIDS isn’t nearly
as popular.

Words like wonderful, sparkling,
delightful, smile
… kind of soft and icky right? Unfortunately
they are all applicable, and I make no apologies for using them. The
album progresses through stages and at most I may be able to throw out
or drivey as a descriptor. The sound starts off with
fast paced, snare driven drums, a shimmering synth and soft bass line.
A few tracks in the drums get heavier, the bass gets a bit of grumble,
the tempo jacks up and although you could dance before, now you feel
obliged. The tempo drops and the chill factor rises with the final few
tracks. It feels kind of like a good night out.
Runaway, Cybernetic
and Heartbeats epitomises the sound that
I was expecting from Grum. Some glitchy beeping keyboard lines hanging
out with an 80s analogue synth that grew up in the kitchen of New
after being won from Human League in a dodgy poker
game. Just one of the tales I pulled from this gleaming pop disco installment.

Catchy, bleepy and delicious melodies,
sharp and smooth synth pads, pulsing and at times slap bass, 80s electro
pop drums and some almost cheesy vocals dominate
Actually 97% of the vocals have been deemed pure naff by leading European
scientists. My favourite tracks tend to be either instrumental or lacking
a singer, but that is only an indication of my taste. The album shows
class and throws a cheeky grin it invites you into a floating space
covered in glitter, neon lights and a chess board dance floor. It is
well produced and well thought out. It offers something old, something
new and something just a little bit more than intriguing. There’s
definitely enough something to keep most people happy before a night
out or a trashy night in – especially if you still wear legwarmers or
fluoro headbands. And, as I must give a number, seven! Grum.

Review Score: 7/10