Good Grief / BUZZorHOWL - split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Good Grief / BUZZorHOWL

split [7-inch] (2013)

Drunken Sailor / Boss Tuneage

Holy moly, two of the finest labels in the UK join up to release this four track single featuring a pair of trios from Liverpool (fortunately, neither sound like the Beatles – how's that for an example of stereotyping?!). Good Grief have amongst its numbers former members of The 255s whilst BUZZorHOWL (surely this has to be a homage to the Minutemen?) feature a member of Drive, who were a highly popular three-piece back in the early 1990s.

Good Grief have a laid back, melodic poppy approach to punk rock, coming across a bit like Samiam on their own track "You've Got Codes" whilst on their cover of J Church's "The Track" there are hints towards Hüsker Dü. The latter track features some guest female vocals as well, which add an extra and pleasing dimension to the band's sound. Both of these tracks are of the kind that hit me immediately, as they are catchy and lack any kind of unnecessary bluster – they both sound great and are a joy to listen to with the relaxed vibe adding to their charm.

BUZZorHOWL also follow a melodic route, although there is a bit more urgency to their tracks, with "Fuel" being quite a beefy and energetic offering, whilst "Pills and Work" has a bit more of a fuzzed up and varied sound, more akin to what I remember Drive sounding like. In "Pills & Work" I do find that during the guitar solo towards the end of the song, I start thinking of Dinosaur Jr. a bit as it has that beautifully warm, fuzzed quality that J Mascis also uses.

Although I like both bands from the evidence on display on this release, BUZZorHOWL would probably win any musical race based on the evidence at hand as "Fuel" is the standout track of the four on this split. But the victory would not be comprehensive as both bands are rather good.