SINGLE REVIEW: GOOD GRIEF by cleopatrick
Holy shit. HOLY shit. The boys are back. This is not a drill.
GOOD GRIEF is the latest single from New Rock Mafia founding fathers Luke Gruntz and Ian Fraser, otherwise known as cleopatrick. The Toronto based duo shot to success off the back of their track hometown a few years ago, and have been tearing up venues near you ever since. Their last single, sanjake, was released back in March 2019, so it's safe to say we've all been ravenous for new content for a hot minute.
The boys dropped the new track in an elaborate, crazy pirate radio website from the 90s (check cleopatrick.com) complete with live chat for everyone to scream at each other about how much they love the band. We were treated to a static countdown that featured the voices of NRM fans from across the globe, which really emphasises just how far and wide this community stretches - and it's truly heartwarming. New Rock Mafia is the most beautiful grassroots rock movement.
The transmission starts with the recent Ready the Prince drop, Regicide (read our interview with Steve about the track here). The hype builds. We're then hit with Best Direction from ZIG MENTALITY (surprise surprise, we wrote about that too). I'm having a full on heart attack by this stage. And then it happens: the glorious, heaven-sent moment we've been waiting for.
GOOD GRIEF - and along with it, the new era - begins.
The song immediately hits with a dirty, fuzzy, and recognisably cleopatrick rock riff that'll have you bopping up and down within seconds. Luke's vocals kick in, bringing some pretty fucking sexy yet gritty hip-hop vibes. When the chorus fires up, all the layers of the track mould together to form the most poetic, disemboweling noise you've ever heard. And you'll never want it to end - but it does. And then it's back again! This shit is fucking addictive. The melody is deliciously thick like poisoned honey, packed with a bucketload of that sweet aggression we've come to expect from cleo over the years.
You might notice a little ZIG MENTALITY flavour to the tune - GOOD GRIEF, (and the entire upcoming debut album) was fully written, recorded, and produced by Luke and Ian, along with Jig Dubé. There was no bullshit involvement from a label or any big name producers, "just 3 kids with some fuzz pedals and a point to prove. We chose to make this album in Jig’s basement, because we wanted to show the kids that come to our gigs that you don’t need to sign a major label deal, or assimilate with the modern “rockstar” phonies in order to make it. In fact it’s quite the opposite. All you need is some good friends and a little vision."
And that's exactly what good grief is about - the true essence of the "fuck the fakes" quote you may have seen floating around NRM socials. The boys describe it as "a double-edged sword meant to cut down those phonies, and unite our allies with a single swing. It’s here to strike fear in the hearts of our enemies, while simultaneously throwing an arm around our friends, introducing them to the new sound we have spent the last year-and-whatever totally obsessing over."
As you might've guessed, this song was conceived during quarantine, which whilst being a complete fucking pain in the ass for the boys - who had planned to record the album in April, and then go on a massive tour in the summer (including Reading and Leeds) - lead to a bit of a creative breakthrough for Luke. "After a few weeks of video games and dog walks, a silver-lining began to emerge. I started writing again, and found myself feeling more self-aware, vulnerable, hungry, and vengeful than ever before. a handful of new songs were sparked by this solitude, and they ended up quickly replacing parts of the album we thought we had been ready to record. GOOD GRIEF was one of those songs."
It was eventually recorded in June, by which time the boys were in a blind musical rage, ready to tear the fucking studio apart. "We tracked with a vengeance. We had fire in our eyes - memories of moshpit-friendships, shaken venue floors, and late night interstate wrong-turns in our hearts. We tracked these songs as a love-letter to everything we had experienced prior to covid, and everything we are longing to be reunited with."
A video will follow the tracks release, which much like the album, was completely DIY. "We conceptualized, directed, and edited the music video by ourselves in an afternoon with a rented camera and a friends backyard. The song and video are meant to imply a future filled with moshpits and chaos; requesting our fans hold-on a little longer. We will be reunited soon."
We can't fucking wait.
Article by Courtney Myers