As a teenager living in Lincoln in the late 80s and early 90s, the majority of peers with ambition wanted to live in Nottingham. It may have been the murder capital of England and stank of piss, but it had proper gig venues, a thriving metal scene and all the other stuff that big cities have. But, essentially, it wasn’t too far from home. I get a sense of this ‘safe’ ambition from Graces’ biography, which tells of a band forming in the Lake District before heading to the bright lights of Sheffield. Not to put Sheffield down, by any means.
Graces promise to ‘combine ambient soundscapes, distorted guitars and recognisable pop sensibilities’. ‘Hotel’ sounds like an amalgamation of anthemic, arena-friendly post-millennial ‘indie’ and 80s AOR. Emotive, heartfelt, but also safe, the big production values and soaring lead guitar parts contrived to convey maximum effect.
It’s nice, and the execution is hard to fault. That they’re set to headline Sheffield SU at the end of the month is a measure of the fan-base they’ve already built, and on the strength of this effort, their mass-market potential is immense.