Five best friends from a blue-collar American city got together and started a band. They took intimate urban stories of broken hearts, bad drugs, blissful sex, and busted dreams and turned them into one alternative rock cult favorite after another. Then, they crossed into the next dimension with a bold depiction of the big sound they’d always hinted at uplifted on a high of gospel harmonies, horn solos, and the kind of lyrics you get tattooed in places you want people to see (and places you don’t want people to see). This is the story of Grayscale so far and how they got to their third full-length album, Umbra [Fearless Records]. The boys introduced themselves on 2017’s Adornment. However, they reached a critical and creative high watermark with Nella Vita in 2019. In a “four-out-of-five star” review, KERRANG! hailed it as “brilliant,” and Rock Sound called it “Grayscale’s most intensely personal body of work to date.” Forbes went as far as to christen them “one of the alternative rock scene’s finest new bands.” Within a year, the record posted up 15 million-plus streams as they sold out headline dates. Under lockdown in Philadelphia during the Global Pandemic, they worked on music with producer Courtney Ballard, finding “a new trail” through R&B, soul, funk, gospel, and all things eighties. Racking up 50 million streams and receiving praise from Forbes, Billboard, and more, the proud Philadelphia quintet open up themselves and their sound throughout these eleven tracks.
The group quietly inched towards crystallizing this style since their 2011 formation. Along the way, they went from Philly stalwarts to a critically acclaimed contender on 2017’s full-length debut Adornment
. As “Atlantic” clocked over 4.3 million Spotify streams and “Forever Yours” eclipsed 3.5 million, “Let It Rain” and “Beautiful Things” also leapt past the one million-mark with the total stream tally exceeding 11 million by 2019. The group logged thousands of miles on the road alongside everyone from State Champs to Real Friends to The Maine in addition to The Vans Warped Tour
. Critical acclaim also came from Alternative Press
, Rock Sound
, and more. Under a heavy influence of everything from nineties alt rock to funk and modern pop as well as rotating through modern hip-hop, they recorded Nella Vita
in Austin, TX alongside producer MACHINE [Lamb of God, Armor For Sleep, Four Year Strong, As It Is]. Tracks such as “Painkiller Weather” and “In Violet” detail the ups and downs of love, sex, teenage nostalgia, addiction, pain, joy, grief, death, and everything in between, urging tears, dancing, bliss, and even hope. — Rick Florino
, May 2019