Lace Weeper are a Wicklow based Grunge band who released their debut album As The Crow Flies at the beginning of this month. Founded in 2011, Lace Weeper is the love child of guitarist Matt Hayward and singer Sebastian Florek. They were soon joined by Os Andres on bass and Kevin Liffey on drums. This album also has the distinction of featuring Chad Channing (Nirvana 1988-1990) on two tracks. Although, they are self-described as grunge, classic rock might be a more apt genre – though the grunge influence can be clearly heard.
The album opens with ‘Hard Sell’ – a misnomer apparently, this tune sells from the opening hook. The bass line is as deep as is possible to get without descending into the depths below, while the corresponding guitar riff duels above in perfect counterpoint. The final touch is the classic, soaring vocals you expect from a grunge/old-school rock band. The finishing touch is the screaming guitar solo that Jimmy Page would be proud of. ‘Hard Sell’ is a very strong start to a very strong album.
‘Hard Sell’ leads beautifully into ‘Pure’ – one of the highlights of the record. Boasting some more of that deeper-than-deep bass and an infectious bluesy guitar riff, ‘Pure’ is the sort of earworm that will come back to you repeatedly until you have to take action and listen to the entire album all over again. The guitar solo this time round is discernibly inspired by Metallica in their prime.
Moving onto one of the slower, more subdued tracks on the record, ‘Catch-22’ is a mature and elaborate take on the hard-rock ballad. This tune manages to be melodious but determinedly heavy without being saccharine or jarring – a rare feat for a grunge band. This song features once again that rumbling bass, straight from the bowels of the earth and the strident vocal lines burning brightly in the foreground.
Lace Weeper have the definite air of a band who don’t take themselves too seriously, and truly, and genuinely love what they do. Whether it’s Haywards seemingly bottomless supply of addictive riffs, or Sebastian Floreks’ always impressive and surprising vocal range, Lace Weeper are a treasure trove of creativity – gutsy rock with a feather-light touch (or Lacy, even).
Each song has some distinctive defining quality. Whether it be the twangy bass line and rafter-high vocals in ‘Seven Dwarves’, or the changing time signatures in ‘Red Tape’, or even the soaring beauty of the violin in the final track ‘Amend’. Lace Weeper prove themselves to be masters in the execution of grunge rock, in all its many incarnations.
The only negative of Lace Weeper is the fact that their songs have a tendency to be a tad formulaic. It generally goes: opening guitar riff, verse, chorus, verse, guitar solo – end. While this could be said of most bands, for whatever reason, it is more obvious with Lace Weeper. Having said that, this mechanical approach does not take away from ones enjoyment of the record. It would be all too easy to give a lengthy description of each track on the album, but that would rob you of the pleasure of listening to it yourself – which if you’re into classic rock, you must.