Written by: Dave Cantrell
Remember that menacing, relentless, skewed funk that came thumping up out of the post-punk underground in the late 70’s, subsuming New York, London and eventually even São Paulo, exemplified by the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, Quango Quango, Liquid Liquid, ESG, and As Mercenarias, all blowing up on labels like ZE, Factory and others? No? Well, that’s too bad but no problem, because London-based band Gramme do.
Having ensured the status of legend by dropping a monster 12″ in the 1999 (“Like U”) that would prove a road map for DFA, not to mention wowing Hot Chip some eight years later, playing some epic live shows that almost sent folks to the hospital then dropping out of the scene altogether for over ten years, Gramme have rearisen and they’ve brought their whole merciless arsenal of basement-busting grooves, artery-swelling basslines and club-melting hooks with them. This is pre-“phat” funk, even as it’s the fattest deepest mo-fo of a pocket you’ll fall into all year. This ain’t just some simple, Bass Guitar For Dummies furrow they’re plowing here, it’s the Mariana Trench of dark serrated party funk, edgy, knowing, and swaggeringly confident.
From the criminally irresistible “Too High” (to which this reviewer happily embarrassed himself while crossing the bridge to work this morning, headphones clamped to his ears, arms in Mudd Club akimbo. Don’t laugh, you will too. Try and resist) to the dust-biting pulse of “Rough News” to the unabashed PiL-isms of both “Expo” and “Cabvolt 38” (as if we needed that hint), the revived Gramme don’t just justify that ‘legend’ tag but build upon it one judderingly irrepressible layer after another. This is an album of unsurpassing excitement, speaking honorably and joyously to the era that inspires them while making it feel like this timeless, havoc-wreaking bomb of a vibe was just created this morning. Seek it out, and thank me later.